According to the study, the romance scam starts off with the scammer asking for small amounts of money and it later transitioning into larger amounts.
According to the BBB, a woman from Colorado reported she became involved with a man who claimed to be living in St. Louis. Using various dating sites or social media, BBB says the scammers often portray themselves as US military members or use profile pictures of someone good looking.
The BBB says many of these scams are out of West Africa, particularly Nigeria, Russia and Ukraine.
If you're in a romance scam, Patterson says tell someone you trust, don't wire money, and make a complaint to the FBI's internet complain center.
Protect your identity and your wallet - Never send money or divulge personal information to someone you've never met in person. "These scams can have devastating consequences for older people's wellbeing as well as their finances and we need to do everything possible to prevent them and to bring the perpetrators to justice". "Because they maintain a database of scammers", Patterson says.
"Currently one of my investigators in the unit is investigating one where just the victim in Lincoln has sent over $400,000", said LPD's Sgt. Steve Wiese. Don't succumb to pleas of financial crisis.
If the conversation goes from a monitored, public site to a private message or email, then the scammer could be trying to isolate you.
Do your research by pouring over the profile image and description.
"Scammers create believable profiles to present themselves as an nearly too good to be true "catch".
Check the person is genuine by putting their name, profile pictures or any repeatedly used phrases and the term "dating scam" or "romance scam" into your search engine.
"Scammers often create realistic profiles online and will share information that seems legitimate".
Ask for details and get specifics like a photo with them holding something with their username on it. "So again, one of the other tips is be very cautious - what you post online as well as who you accept those friend requests from", Patton said. Ask plenty of questions - don't rush into an online relationship.
Rising Tide Financial Services managing director Chris Browne's advice for those planning to celebrate Valentine's Day on Wednesday is to avoid going over the top. They often claim strong religious faith, say they're widowed with a child or that they're serving in the military.
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