By Luanne Kadlub
What does love got to do with it? If you’re Tina Turner, just about everything. If you’re one of the growing number of romance schemers, absolutely nothing.
Fraudsters, who use online dating sites, chat rooms and social networking sites to look for the perfect victim, target singles of all ages, but especially baby boomers, according to the Colorado Attorney General. Victims report losing, on average $10,000 each.
How does this happen? Once an online relationship begins, schemers may send flowers and gifts while using stories of personal tragedy, injury and other hardships to earn trust and sympathy. Common signs you might be dealing with a scammer include emails containing poor grammar, misspelled words and requests for money.
BBB offers the following tips for avoiding an online romance scam:
Consider using an established dating service. Check out their record first at bbb.org.
Don’t get involved with a person who claims to be in love from the outset. Scammers usually use emotional ties to increase their chances of getting your money. If your match asks you to pay for travel expenses, there is a high probability that it is a scam
Make sure you only open emails, attachments and links from people or dating services you trust. Install updated anti-virus software. Also, beware of unsolicited emails with subject such as, “Someone just sent you an ecard!”
Never give credit card or online account details to anyone by email and be careful about how much personal information you share. Scammers sometimes use your information and pictures to create a fake identity or to target you with another scam.
Consider focusing your efforts to meet someone locally. While it’s certainly possible that special someone lives outside your area, there’s also a far higher risk of running into a long-distance scammer when you’re getting to know someone online.
Start With Trust. For more consumer tips and information, visit the BBB Website for more information.