A viewer just wrote into 5 On Your Side after being scammed by a man she THOUGHT might have been THE ONE!
They connected through a dating website. He said he was an Army soldier in Iraq. They chatted online and through text messaging for FOUR months! He sent roses for her birthday and later, a picture of his children. He shared the sad story of how his wife was killed in a car crash.
Then she got the message she’d been waiting for, he was granted leave. He would come see her! He just needed her to help with expenses. She was quick to send $2,200. Too quick. She soon found out it was all a scam. He took her money, and took off!
This sort of thing apparently happens more than many of us realize! It’s the newest version of the ole Nigerian Scam! The Better Business Bureau just sent out a warning about online dating scams. They say scam artists create fake profiles on dating websites to gain the trust of online love interests. They even steal photos of really great looking people from social networking sites and claim to share their victims’ interests.
So on this Valentine’s weekend, the BBB waves these red flags for what you and your heart need to watch out for:
- They won’t meet you in person. Scam artists usually only communicate online or by phone. They blame career or life circumstances that take them overseas – just like what happened to our viewer!
- They share similar interests. Typically, scam artists make themselves seem charming and sensitive. They pretend to share the same values in order to gain trust. They’re quick to develop a relationship and talk about love. Many send flowers (just like Mr. Iraq did!) and gifts! And no surprise – the scammers usually buy them with STOLEN credit cards!
- There is a sudden emergency. Once the relationship is developed, the scammers claim some sort of emergency and they need your financial help. (Mr. Iraq got that “leave.”) Often the emergency involves a sick family member.
And let’s be honest, if someone you barely know, and especially someone you’ve never met, asks you for money, is that really a person you want to get involved with? NO!!!! They’re not a LOVER, they are a LOSER!!