Over the last few decades, online dating has gone from being a "last resort" for many people to being the primary way to meet a new love interest.

Sadly, the popularity of online dating has given scammers a pile of new potential targets.

As we are just a few days away from Valentines Day, and so many people have romance on their mind, the Better Business Bureau has released some important information to protect you from these scams.

How Do The Scams Work?

While there are several ways the scam can play out, this is the most typical way.  The scammer reaches out to the potential victim through a dating site or app.  The quickly move the "relationship" along.  Before too long, they tell a sob story that involves them needing money.  If the target falls victim to the scam, they send the money in a non-trackable way like gift cards, for example.  After getting the maximum amount of money out of a target, the scammer ghosts their victim.

Warning Signs

According to the Better Business Bureau, things you should watch out for include:

  • -Too Hot - Not to be rude, but if the person appears to be out of your league, it should be a warning sign that things may not be as they seem.
  • -In A Hurry - If the person is in a hurry to move the relationship along and if they are in a hurry to communicate through services outside the dating site / app (like text or email), it could be a warning sign.
  • -Language Issues - If the person says they are from your town or state, but they seem to have problems with English grammar and syntax, it could be a sign that the scammer is actually talking to you from a foreign country.
  • -Talk About Trust - Scammers will frequently talk about how important trust is to them.
  • -Hard Luck Stories - Normal people who are looking for a new relationship won't start out the conversation with talk about a tragedy in their life.  If a new contact almost immediately starts discussing an awful problem they are dealing with, especially one that can be solved with money, this should be a big red flag.

How To Protect Yourself

The BBB suggests not sharing a lot of personal information at the beginning of an online relationship and never sending money to someone you don't know.

And, if you are concerned about the photo that appears in the profile, you should check to see if it appears elsewhere on the internet.  These tools can help you with that: tineye.com and images.google.com

Above all, be safe and don't take risks.

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