Protect Your Heart and Wallet This Valentine’s Day
Release date: 2/13/2017
RALEIGH, N.C. – Attorney General Josh Stein is reminding people to be cautious on online dating websites this Valentine’s Day. Unfortunately, not all of these sites’ users approach online dating with good intentions. In fact, dating websites have become a top vehicle for online scams.
“Scam artists are using social media and dating websites more and more frequently to take their victims’ hard earned money,” said AG Stein. “Sweetheart scams occur when criminals trick people into starting an online romantic relationship. Victims often end up paying money for what the scammer claims is a medical emergency, car accident or even a flight to come visit the victim. People should always be cautious when meeting someone online and never send money to someone they haven’t met in person.”
Scam artists often pose as military personnel or professionals who spend a lot of time traveling for work to avoid meeting in person. Victims report losing anywhere from a few thousand dollars to around $100,000 over the course of a year as a result of sweetheart scams.
AG Stein offered some tips to avoid these scams:
People may not be who they claim to be online. Research the people you meet. Don’t trust that they are who they say they are.
Look out for conversations where suitors begin to discuss finances and ask for money.
Never send or wire money to a stranger you meet online. Once the money has been wired, it is highly unlikely you will ever get it back.
Never give out your personal information to someone you meet online.
Please report potential sweetheart scams by calling the North Carolina Department of Justice at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or file a complaint at www.ncdoj.gov