With it being Valentine’s Day, the FBI has wanted to raise awareness about romance scams online (also known as confidence fraud).
Within this, scammers take to dating websites, apps or social media to take advantage of those looking for romantic partners, by trying to obtain their financial or personal identifiable information.
According to the FBI, romance scams increase around this time of year, and these scams result in the highest amount of financial losses to victims.
In 2016, there were almost 15,000 complaints categorised as romance scams which were reported to the FBI.
This was nearly 2,500 more complaints than the year before, with the damages exceeding a huge $230 million.
WWAY posted some tips from the authorities on what those developing a romantic relationship with someone online should consider. See below:
- Research the person’s photo and profile using online searches to see if the material has been used elsewhere.
- Go slow and ask questions.
- Beware if the individual seems too perfect or quickly asks you to leave a dating service or social media site to go “offline.”
- Beware if the individual attempts to isolate you from friends and family or requests.
- Beware if the individual promises to meet in person, but then always comes up with an excuse why he or she can’t. If you haven’t met the person after a few months for whatever reason, you have good reason to be suspicious.
- Never send money to anyone you don’t know personally.