The FBI is warning people just before Valentine’s day about a ‘love’ scam.
They said criminals are visiting dating websites and trolling social media and chat rooms looking for “romantic victims” and looking to “turn the lonely and vulnerable into fast money through a variety of scams.”
They usually claim to be Americans traveling or working overseas; but the FBI said, in reality, they often live overseas.
The most common targets are said to be women over 40 who are divorced, widowed, and/or disabled; but they said every age group and demographic is at risk.
The FBI said here’s how the scam works: Someone contacts you online saying they’re interested in you. You chat back and forth for weeks, maybe months, forming a connection. They said the person may even send you flowers or other gifts.
But, they warn: this person will eventually ask you for money.
If you become a victim in this type of scam, the FBI said you should file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center.
The FBI released the following tips on what to look out for to avoid becoming a victim:
**Your ‘online’ date presses you to leave the dating website you met through and to communicate using personal e-mail or instant messaging.
**They profess instant feelings of love.
**They send you a photo of himself or herself that looks like something from a glamour magazine.
**They claim to be from the U.S. and are traveling or working overseas.
**They make plans to visit you but are then unable to do so because of a tragic event.
**They ask for money for a variety of reasons (travel, medical emergencies, hotel bills, hospitals bills for child or other relative, visas or other official documents, losses from a financial setback or crime victimization.)