The New York State Department of State's Division of Consumer Protection is alerting consumers to exercise caution on internet dating sites. While online dating is a popular way to meet new people, you may also encounter scammers who are looking to take your money.
Many of these scammers are from foreign countries but are posing as someone else. They often use pictures from the internet for their profiles and disguise their voice on the phone. Sometimes these con artists will send small gifts to express deep affection towards to their victims. Eventually, they request a large sum of money, usually as a loan, to be wired to them for things ranging from business investments, property, debts, and more. Once they receive the money, they usually stop all contact with the victim or sometimes ask for even more until the victim becomes suspicious. Unfortunately, even when victims realize they are being scammed it is very difficult to track down the perpetrator and only a small percentage ever see their money again.
Protect yourself from online dating scams by following these tips:
• Never loan money to someone, particular overseas, that you have not met.
• Be cautious of people online who say they are American but are abroad and are trying to get home due to a traumatic life incident, even if it is to come visit you.
• Do not give out personal information to someone online, especially if you have not met them before.
• Use trusted online dating sites, but still exercise caution.
• Avoid people online who ask for money. They are almost always scammers.
For more information regarding scam prevention and mitigation, please contact the New York Department of State, Division of Consumer Protection at (518)-474-8583.