MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Singles beware: Internet romance scams are growing and targeting singles over 40, who are divorced, widowed and/or disabled, the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota says.
“Online romance scams continue to grow and become more sophisticated each year,” said Dana Badgerow, the bureau’s president and CEO.
On Thursday, the bureau (aka the BBB) sent out some tips to help singles defend themselves from scammers.
“We’re trying to make consumers aware of some warning signs,” Badgerow said.
Some common signs that you might be dealing with a scammer are: (1) messages and emails are written poorly, (2) misspelled words and (3) requests for money, the BBB said.
To avoid being scammed, the bureau suggests you use an established dating service, be wary of people who fall in love immediately and update your anti-virus software. Also, never give out credit card information or your Internet passwords.
According to statistics from the Internet Crime Complaint Center, women 50 and older are the biggest targets of romance scams, the BBB said.
Scammers often try to lure people in with emotional ties, the bureau said. Sometimes scammers send their victims gifts and flowers while telling stories of personal tragedy and hardship so as to earn a victim’s sympathy.
And while romance can flourish over long distances, the BBB advises you try to meet someone locally.