Online romance schemes: 3 signs of 'sweetheart scammers'

 

Scammers seem to be on to new tactics. The scams just keep evolving. So, experts say it's important we evolve our smarts to protect ourselves.

 

It happens all of the time, thieves pulling on your heartstrings, trying to get to your purse strings.

 

“It involves emotion, it involves romance, so there are vulnerabilities there. Unfortunately, people are looking to

prey upon that,” says senior manager for Experian’s PROTECTmyID, Becky Frost.

 

The FBI calls them sweetheart scammers and there are major warning signs your online love is headed offline:

 

(1) If you find a profile that looks too good to be true.

 

(2) Think of security questions online. If the person you’re corresponding with starts asking you the name of your first pet, they could be hacking into some of your accounts.

 

(3) Be aware of any type of request for money.

The FBI says the average financial loss from these romance schemes: between $15,000 and $20,000 per victim.

 

“They say, love to come see you, gosh, it's almost Valentine's Day. I don't quite have the money. Just send me your back account information or send me $500 and I'll have the rest of the money,” says Frost.

 

Suspicious? Try doing your own detective work.

 

“If the person only exists on one site, that's definitely a red flag,” explains Frost.

 

If you are a victim, file a police report. Also, check out online resources like PROTECTmyID.com . For a fee, they'll monitor your identity and help you recover from any issues they find.

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