As Valentine's Day approaches, we're in the season of love. Social media networks and dating websites have become popular ways for meeting and communicating with others. Unfortunately, fraudsters have capitalized on this trend and often create fake profiles to lure in victims, establish romantic relationships and eventually, extort money. Here's some information from the American Bankers Association that will help you protect yourself or a loved one.
According to the FBI, over $220 million was lost in 2016 to online romance scam artists. Older Americans in particular have been targeted by this type of scam.
While online dating can open doors to loving, happy relationships, there are more and more reports of criminals using these platforms to take advantage of unsuspecting users. Approach these relationships with caution so you don't end up with a broken heart and an empty wallet.
If you're concerned that you or a loved one are being scammed, Southwest Missouri Bank recommends taking the following precautions:
- Slow down – and talk to someone you trust. Don't let a scammer rush you.
- Never wire money, put money on a gift or cash reload card, or send cash to an online love interest. You won't get it back.
- Contact your bank right away if you think you've sent money to a scammer.
- Report your experience to:
To learn more about online dating scams, view the ABA Foundation and FTC's infographic below.
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