Valentine’s Day is tomorrow and the wheels may be set in motion to start fresh and try an online dating site. Millions use dating and social networking sites to meet people. These days, one in five relationships started online. That's according to a study by Match.com. In 2011, 2,500 people filed complaints against online dating sites nationally.
"While many are looking to start a successful and meaningful relationship, there are those using these sites to take advantage of others," said Paula Fleming, Vice President of Communications and Marketing for the BBB in Eastern Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island and Vermont. "Unfortunately, the anonymity of the Internet makes it easy for con artists to use these sites to meet potential victims and prey upon lonely hearts."
These con artists create fake profiles to build online relationships, and eventually convince victims to send money in the name of love. They may send you photos of themselves with their “child” and are wanting to build a meaningful relationship, or dressed as the professionals they are not, when in fact all they are doing is trying to “connect” with as many so-called “loves” in their lives as they can to swindle them!
The Better Business Burau offers these tips to help you recognize when the relationship may not be so sweet – especially when your “Sweetheart”:
• Wants to leave the dating site immediately and use personal email or telephone.
• Claims their love for you within moments of meeting you online.
• Claims to be from the U.S. but is traveling overseas.
• Plans to visit, but is prevented by some sort of emergency or deal gone bad.
To help prevent being scammed on dating sites, don’t wire money to cover:
• Travel to come meet you
• Medical emergencies
• Hotel bills
• Hospital bills for a child or other relative
• Visas or other official documents
Don’t send money to tide someone over after a financial setback, and don’t do anyone a favor by making an online purchase or forwarding a package to another country. One request leads to another, and delays and disappointments will follow. In the end, the money will be gone along with the person you thought you knew.
To stay on top of the latests scams and consumers tips visit bbb.org.