Don’t Get Your Heart Broken (or Your Money Stolen) By A Scammer This Valentine’s Day

Love is in the air, but scammers might not care about breaking your heart or your bank account.

The Better Business Bureau of West Michigan wants to help you spot and avoid romance scams.

Red flags to watch out for:

Hurry to leave the site. Scammers (often known as Catfishers) will try to quickly move the conversation to email, text or a messaging app. This avoids the surveillance programs put in place by dating sites.

  • Moving quickly. A scammer will start talking about a future together and quickly tell you that he loves you. They often say they have never felt this before.
  • I don’t want or can’t meet. Beware of someone who always has an excuse to postpone a meeting because they say they are traveling or living abroad or in the military.
  • Suspicious language. If the person you’re communicating with claims to be from your hometown but has poor spelling or grammar or uses phrases that don’t make sense, that’s a red flag.
  • Bad luck stories. Before asking you for money, the scammer might allude to financial issues like the heat going out or a stolen car or a sick relative, or they might share a sad story from their past.

How to avoid romance scams:

Never send money or sensitive personal information to someone you’ve never met before. This includes addresses, social security numbers or other forms of identification. Never give someone your credit card or bank account information to book a ticket to visit you, or allow them to deposit money into your account.

  • Ask specific questions about the details of a profile. A scammer may stumble over details or have trouble remembering their own story.
  • Do your research. Many scammers steal photos from the web to use in their profiles. You can do a reverse image search using a website like com Where images.google.com to see if a profile’s photos are stolen elsewhere. You can also search online for a profile name, email address, or phone number.

Report scams to by clicking the BBB scam tracker.

Learn about other forms of romance scams by clicking here.

About Geraldine Higgins

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