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Tuesday, 14 February 2017 10:12

On Your Side: Looking for love? How to avoid online romance scams

By: 

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

It doesn't take a lot of effort to set up online dating profiles.

Scammers are using that more and more to their advantage. A man named “Bill” knows that all too well. “Bill” doesn’t want us to share his real name to protect his identity.

"I don't know what it is, if I'm a sucker at heart, she was saying all the right things,” Bill said.

A few years ago, Bill met a woman online from Nigeria. He sent her almost $5,000 in hopes of bringing her to the U.S. but then she vanished online..

"I'm just thinking, I'm never going to do that again,” Bill said.

Bill, the hopeless romantic, is just one of numerous people who fall victim to romance scams every year. This type of scam reported to the FBI in 2015 more than doubled from the previous year.

The Better Business Bureau says this type of fraud is running rampant.

"People do create a relationship with people online and they want to get to know you and they want you to get to know them or who they purport to be. But there's always a catch to these. They put off meeting in person. They are traveling, etc.,” David Smitherman with the Better Business Bureau of Central and South Alabama said.

And the scammers eventually ask for money. In Bill's case, he gladly sent it all in the name of what he thought was love.

“People want to meet a special somebody in their life. They tried the more traditional ways of meeting people. They may resort to some of these sites on the internet  and that's OK. There's nothing wrong with that. You just have to be cautious and not let your emotions get away with you when people start asking you for money,” Smitherman added.

Smitherman says don't send money or personal information to someone you've never met in person. The BBB says you can also copy portions of the person's profile biography and enter it in a search engine. Often times scammers will use the same details across many platforms to trick multiple people at once.

Author : Joshua Gauntt

Source : http://www.wbrc.com/story/34494134/on-your-side-looking-for-love-how-to-avoid-online-romance-scams

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