Protect Your Heart and Your Wallet from Scammers This Valentine's Day

Dating websites have become a top vehicle for online scammers to find potential victims

Valentine's Day online dating scams
Image: Pexels
February 09, 2018

As Valentine's Day approaches, consumers are urged to be cautious while using online dating websites. Unfortunately, not all users on these sites approach online dating with good intentions. In fact, dating websites have become a top vehicle for online scammers.

Victims Can Lose Thousands

Preying on the vulnerabilities of their targets, these scam artists often pose as military personnel or professionals who spend a lot of time traveling for work to avoid meeting in person. Victims of these "sweetheart scams" have reported losing anywhere from a few thousand dollars to around $100,000 over the course of a year.

"Scam artists are using social media and dating websites more and more frequently to take their victims' hard earned money," said North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein. "Sweetheart scams occur when criminals trick people into starting an online romantic relationship. Victims often end up paying money for what the scammer claims is a medical emergency, car accident or even a flight to come visit the victim. People should always be cautious when meeting someone online and never send money to someone they haven't met in person."

Avoiding Sweetheart Scams

If you use online dating sites, follow these tips to avoid falling victim to a sweetheart scammer:

  • People may not be who they claim to be online. Research the people you meet. Don't trust that they are who they say they are.
  • Look out for conversations where suitors begin to discuss finances and ask for money.
  • Never send or wire money to a stranger you meet online. Once the money has been wired, it is highly unlikely you will ever get it back.
  • Never give out your personal information to someone you meet online.

Report All Suspected Fraud

If you think that you may have been the target of a scammer, report the potential con to the North Carolina Attorney General's Office.

Get Connected with Consumer Connections

Stay up-to-date about issues that really matter! Get the Consumer Connections newsletter!

We're committed to providing you with information you need to make you a better, more informed consumer. Whether it's a vehicle recall, a product recall, or a new scam, we feature it in Consumer Connections.

So why not give it a try? Go on. All of your friends are doing it. It's completely free and comes just once a week.

Have you ever noticed that your bank account somehow had 'extra' money in it even though you knew for a fact it wasn't yours? If so, you are not alone. It happens more often than you would think. All it takes is for a bank teller to type in one wrong number at the time a deposit is being made.

Advances in airbag technology have made 10 and two quite dangerous, according to the American Driver and Traffic Safety Association. The old position puts the driver's fingers, hands and arms in the way of the airbag, which deploys at speeds of nearly 250 mph.

Have you ever considered using toothpaste on your car to take out a few of those minor scratches? If the scratch hasn't yet penetrated the clearcoat, there is a good chance that you can fix the problem with a little bit of elbow grease and whitening toothpaste.

Tell all of your friends and family that you have some type of consumer complaint. We bet that at least half of them will tell you to contact the Better Business Bureau (BBB) for some kind of resolution. But can the BBB really help consumers? It really isn't what you think it is.