Saturday, 26 May, 2018

Police warn of 'Romance scams' just in time for Valentine's Day

Officials warn of online dating scams No valentines here: Fake online dating profiles used to scam suitors out of cash
Ellis Copeland | 15 February, 2018, 12:00

Many are seeking love on Valentine's Day, but if you're not careful you may end up finding yourself caught up in a romance scam.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) warns those who use dating websites to be wary of scammers who prey on unsuspecting victims.

Parson says if you are doing online dating to make sure that it's a secure site.

Moving fast. They will begin speaking of a future together and tell you they love you quickly.

The BBB believes more can be done to protect consumers, such as having online dating sites contact customers who have interacted with a fraudulent profile, increasing worldwide cooperation for prosecutions, encouraging friends and family to be cautious with online dating, and emphasizing that people should not wire money to strangers.

A Better Business Bureau study found that one million Americans were victimized in romance fraud scams over the past three years.

The bureau undertook the study when it noticed an increase in complaints about online dating scams, said Steve Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois.

The BBB said Hope and Paul primarily communicated via text or email, but they did talk on the phone once or twice.

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"Before you know it, honest people are sending money or personal information to totally dishonest con artists", Moore said. Commonly, scammers pretend to be United States military members.

"It doesn't happen as much, but when it does the scammers get a lot of money from the victims", said Mike Archocosky, Detective Sgt. for the Marquette City Police.

At any one time, there may be 25,000 scammers online working with victims.

Once money is paid, the scammer may promise to come to the U.S, continue the relationship in person and marry the victim. "Scammers are everywhere; they go where people are". If it sounds too good to be true, verify it.

"Scammers use tactics like creating realistic online profiles, using fake photos and sharing information that appears genuine", he said. Whatever the text of the message is that they sent you, if you take that and copy it and put it in your Google search window and it shows up in other messages to other people, that's a huge clue.

Do your research. Pore over the profile image and description.

Ask for details and get specifics.

In conjunction with this study, BBB Serving Western Michigan also held a Press Conference for local news media featuring a Panel Discussion with Chris Becker, Kent County Prosecutor, Nancy Kropiewnicki, Kent County Elder Abuse Coalition Coordinator, and Beth Swagman of Beth A. Swagman, PLLC.

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