ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - Some claim that these days more couples meet online than in person, and if that’s true then scam artists seem to be taking notice.
A woman who lives on the West Coast recently called a Fraud Hotline to report that she met a man living in the 314 area code through an online dating service.
The man told her that he was in “financial trouble” and convinced her to send him $25,000.
Now he’s nowhere to be found.
Officials with the St. Louis Better Business Bureau (www.stlouis.bbb.org) along with the FBI (www.fbi.gov) and www.OnGuardOnline.gov offer the following guidelines to keep from getting scammed online:
• A fraudster’s profile will often be fictitious. They may present a photo that looks “too good to be true.”
• Before communicating with someone online, make every attempt to verify their information. Use various search engines to check their name and address(es). Run their name through online sex offender databases.
• Copy and paste the text of messages and even photos to see if similar information has been used before.
• Only use online dating services with “nationally known reputations.”
• Find out of the dating services does background checks or “fraud scans” on their clients.
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• Be especially cautious when a new love interest asks for money — it is almost certainly a scam.
• Scam artists will often want to leave the dating site to communicate by phone, email or instant messaging.
They claim to “love you” immediately. They purport to live in the U.S. but work or travel overseas. They
may agree to meet you, but will postpone plans at the last minute.
• Do not wire money to cover his/her expenses, such as travel, medical or other
fi nancial emergencies.