Avoid This Minnesota Valentine’s Romance Scam
If you scored yourself a date for Valentine's Day - congratulations! Before you head out together, just keep these things in mind.
I know that what I'm about to warn you of is a national problem, however, it must be growing in Minnesota and North Dakota, because the Better Business Bureau serving both states issued a press release with some Valentine's Day safety tips.
On a date that just isn't going well? Here is how they suggest getting out safely. They write:
Know your enemy. Before you even set up an online dating profile, simply know that not everyone using online dating sites is looking for love. Fraudsters often create bogus online profiles using photos of others. While romance schemes tend to target older individuals, con artists aren’t afraid to flirt with the younger crowd, who gravitate toward dating apps, such as Tinder. Scammers often give themselves away through poor grammar or misspellings in online correspondence.
Keep your guard up. Never wire or loan money to people you haven’t met in person. By doing so, you could find yourself opening a door that’s very difficult to close. If you’re using an online dating service, be especially wary of anyone who asks you to leave the dating website to continue your conversation through email, texting or instant messaging, as this allows fraudsters to operate freely without the dating site having a record of your encounter.
Be cautious if someone claims to be local but is “currently out of the country.” These individuals could be fraudsters operating from overseas, making it more difficult for authorities to track them down. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Also, be aware that scammers sometimes claim a military connection in an attempt to gain people’s trust.
Stay grounded. Fraudsters will often claim to be head over heels in love from the word go. Other times they lead their victims on until they feel that the time is right to ask for money. Either way, no matter how much an online relationship feels like the real thing, you should be suspicious if someone you’ve never met requests a loan, credit card or bank information, or asks you to wire funds.
If you think you’ve gotten into a bad situation, tell someone. Sometimes people are afraid to let others know they’ve been deceived – especially if they suspect they’ve been defrauded. When your instincts are telling you something isn’t right, it’s important to heed those feelings. Talking things over with friends and family and reporting the scheme to local authorities, BBB and the FTC can save you money and additional heartache.
Got any more tips you'd like to suggest? Let us know as a comment below!
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