Valentine’s Day is almost here which means, many are looking for love. According to Tinder, Valentine’s Day in 2018 saw a 7.2% increase.
Since singles are searching for love on the internet, the Better Business Bureau want to make sure people understand the caution of a romance scam. “They create a page under a different name and all of a sudden they have taken on someone else’s identity,” says Kelly Trevino of the Corpus Christi Better Business Bureau. “And they use it to lure you in and make you feel like you’ve fallen in love.”
Trevino says there are certain red flags to watch for, “the pattern that we see with romance scams is they post a picture that looks like they’re in the military, which gives them a great reason why they can’t meet you. So they can’t meet you you never get to meet them in person, and they start talking about trust very quickly.”
The BBB found that in the last three years, consumers lost 1 billion dollars from romance scams and there could be 25,000 scammers online right this minute.
Tips from BBB to Spot This Scam:
Too hot to be true. Scammers offer up good-looking photos and tales of financial success. Be honest with yourself about who would be genuinely interested. If they seem “too perfect,” your alarm bells should ring.
In a hurry to get off the site. Catfishers will try very quickly to get you to move to communicating through email, messenger, or phone.
Moving fast. A catfisher will begin speaking of a future together and tell you they love you quickly. They often say they’ve never felt this way before.
Talk about trust. Catfishers will start manipulating you with talk about trust and how important it is. This will often be a first step to asking you for money.
Don’t want to meet. Be wary of someone who always has an excuse to postpone meeting because they say they are traveling or live overseas or are in the military.
Suspect language. If the person you are communicating with claims to be from your home town but has poor spelling or grammar, uses overly flowery language, or uses phrases that don’t make sense, that’s a red flag.
Hard luck stories. Before moving on to asking you for money, the scammer may hint at financial troubles like heat being cut off or a stolen car or a sick relative, or they may share a sad story from their past (death of parents or spouse, etc.).
Trevino says that even if someone seems like they are the perfect match, it helps to do your research and meet them in person.
“You may be in love, but the other person is not, they’re just wanting that cash.”
If you have been a victim, you can report a scam to BBB Scam Tracker, the FTC and the FBI.
For more information on Romance Scams, you can find it on the BBB website.