Some unscrupulous people make a living pretending they are someone else. Their target – a lonely person looking for a special relationship. These scammers “work” the online dating sites.
The FBI says the most common targets are women over 40, who are divorced, widowed, and/or disabled. However, all age groups are at risk.
Sometimes scammers set up a profile and wait for you to come to them. Other times they see your profile and contact you. They are slick. They start out slowly to develop your trust, chatting for weeks or months. They may even send you gifts or flowers.
What are some red flags the FBI says to watch for?
- The con artists want you to leave the dating website where you met them and communicate using your personal email. Stick to nationally known online dating websites. Check their rating with the BBB.
- You are asked for money for reasons such as they need money to come and see you or they are sick or had a tragic event happen.
- They send a picture that looks as if it is from a glamour magazine.
- They send a check, ask you to buy such and such and then send the remaining money back. Of course, their check is counterfeit.
These criminals will research who you are and present a profile that is exciting to you. Be careful. It’s been said this is a $100 million dollar business. Many of these scammers come from Africa and Russia. There are large banks of computers that people sit in front of all day with one thing in mind --- get your money!