People urged to watch out for romance scams with Valentine’s Day around the corner

Scam Alerts

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, the FBI is warning of scams that will break your heart and your wallet.

Technology is changing the way people are meeting while also creating more opportunities for people to fall victim to what federal authorities call “romance scams.” On Tuesday, 8News went around Richmond to speak with people about their plans for Valentine’s Day.

“Give my wife a kiss,” one man told 8News.

While some may have someone to smooch this Valentine’s Day, not everybody does. Some turn to online dating apps and websites to meet someone special. The FBI says if you’re looking for a date online, be careful as people will try to scam you using those dating apps.

Two women who spoke with 8News near Virginia Commonwealth University said they’ve never heard about these types of scams.

“I’ve never heard about it,” one said.

“Me neither, it’s a scary world out there,” said the other.

FBI Richmond suggests taking these points into consideration to avoid becoming a victim:

  • Only use reputable, nationally-recognized dating websites; however, be aware that scammers may be using them too.
  • Research photos and profiles in other online search tools and ask questions.
  • Never provide your financial information, loan money, nor allow your bank accounts to be used for transfers of funds.
  • Do not allow attempts to isolate you from family and friends.
  • Do not blindly believe the stories of severe life circumstances, tragedies, family deaths, injuries, or other hardships geared at keeping your interest and concern.
  • If you are planning to meet someone in person you have met online, meet in a public place and let someone know where you will be and what time you should return home.

The FBI also says to check the State Department’s travel advisories if you’re planning on traveling to another country to meet someone. Authorities also urge people to let their friends and family know where they are going and who they plan on meeting.

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