The Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency, warns that scammers sometimes use online dating and social networking sites to try to convince people to send money in the name of love. In a typical scenario, the scam artist creates a fake profile, gains the trust of an online love interest, and then asks that person to wire money—usually to a location outside the United States.
Here are some warning signs that someone you met online could be in it for the money:
- Wanting to leave the dating site immediately and use personal e-mail or IM accounts.
- Claiming instant feelings of love.
- Claiming to be from the United States but currently overseas.
- Planning to visit, but being unable to do so because of a tragic event.
- Asking for money to pay for travel, visas or other travel documents, medication, a child or other relative’s hospital bills, recovery from a temporary financial setback, or expenses while a big business deal comes through.
- Making multiple requests for more money.
The FTC warns consumers that wiring money to someone they haven’t met is the same as sending cash. Once it’s gone, it can’t be recovered.
For more information on Online Dating Scams visit OnGuardOnline.gov, the federal
government’s online safety website. OnGuardOnline provides practical tips from the federal government and the technology industry to help you be on guard against Internet fraud, secure your computer, and protect your personal information. OnGuardOnline.gov is a partnership of more than a dozen federal agencies and the technology industry.
The FTC works to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and avoid them. To file a complaint or get free information on consumer issues, visit ftc.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. Watch a new video, How to File a Complaint, at ftc.gov/video to learn more. The FTC enters consumer complaints into the Consumer Sentinel Network, a secure online database and investigative tool used by more than 1,800 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
(FYI Online Dating Scams)