February is a busy month for scammers as lots of people look for love.
Officials from the Better Business Burea say scammers are hoping to cash in on the search for a significant other. The FTC reports a record $547 million was lost to romance scams in 2021. BBB officials say scammers not only use words but photos to scam people.

Don't be fooled by pretty pictures

They say scammers steal photos of attractive people to create fake online accounts and then trick victims to fall in love with them and then they drain bank accounts.
The Federal Trade Commission and Federal Bureau of Investigation says the average amount of loss is $2,500. So how does it happen? Federal officials say the scammers prey on people who are looking for love turning what feels like a new relationship into an ask for money to help the scammer with some made up crisis.

Thousands of people are victims of romance scams every year

FTC officials say they received more than 25,000 complaints every year from consumers concerning romance scams. Before entering information check out the dating site at bbb.org.

FBI officials have some tips for those using dating sites hoping to avoid being scammed;

Be careful what you post and make public online. Scammers can use details shared on social media and dating sites to better understand and target you.

    Research the person’s photo and profile using online searches to see if the image, name, or details have been used elsewhere.

    Go slowly and ask lots of questions.

    Beware if the individual seems too perfect or quickly asks you to leave a dating service or social media site to communicate directly.

    Beware if the individual attempts to isolate you from friends and family or requests inappropriate photos or financial information that could later be used to extort you.

    Beware if the individual promises to meet in person but then always comes up with an excuse why he or she can’t. If you haven’t met the person after a few months, for          
    whatever reason, you have good reason to be suspicious.

    Never send money to anyone you have only communicated with online or by phone.

According to Social Catfish, a company committed to helping people avoid online scams most romance scam victims are college educated. "Despite public opinion that romance scam victims must be unintelligent, 75% of victims polled by Social Catfish have some college education and 13% earned graduate degrees."



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