Updated:
Original:

Valentine's don't: BBB warns lovestruck of online 'romance scams'

Author:

Ahh, February: a time of love, romance, and, according to the Better Business Bureau in Minnesota, scams.

With Valentine's Day nearly upon us, the BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota is warning the lovestruck about "romance scams."

Here's how they work.

Typically, such schemes begin on social media or dating websites, where "unscrupulous individuals" look to defraud people by pretending to be a potential love interest.

After gaining the victim's trust, the BBB says, the scammer starts asking for money – say, for a plane ticket to meet the victim – and soon comes up with excuses and stories as to why they need more. The group says older people or those who aren't "tech savvy" are often targeted.

The con is sometimes known as "catfishing," according to FOX 6.

Experts agree there are many warning signs. SCAMwatch says a reliable red flag is the scammer's request to move the conversation to the telephone or an email service outside the dating site where it began.

The website also says romance scammers aren't exactly Shakespeare – their emails are often poorly written and contain vague, repetitive information. Still, there's evidence that many are patient and go in for the long con.

"Some of these scammers spend a year in a relationship with you before they ask for money. They tell their victims everything they want to hear," investigator and author Sofija Stefanovic told the Daily Mail.

“Romance scams are a double whammy,” said Dana Badgerow, president and CEO of the Minnesota and North Dakota BBB. “They hit victims financially and emotionally, and the consequences are often devastating.”

A good rule of thumb, the BBB says, is to never send money to someone you’ve never met in person.

Next Up

Joel Eriksson Ek

Eriksson Ek's hat trick completes Wild's rally over Jets

A late review helped the Wild win their home opener.

Screen Shot 2021-10-19 at 8.11.35 PM

Watch: Marcus Foligno starts fight with a superman punch

Foligno was not messing around in the first period.

Union Gospel Mission graffiti side by side - Duluth PD

Vandals target longstanding Duluth soup kitchen, transitional housing site

Union Gospel Mission has been operating in the city since 1922.

i-94 crash st. michael - 2021.10.19

At least 1 dead after 'serious crash' on I-94 in St. Michael

That side of the highway is expected to be closed for at least a few hours.

House for sale

The crazy Twin Cities housing market is showing signs of slowing down

Agents are seeing fewer multiple offers and no inspections are less prevalent.

Ben Simmons

Simmons' reunion with 76ers lasts mere days, chance for Wolves?

Woj says the Sixers remain "steadfast" in their plans for Simmons.

mitchell ottinger

Sub teacher involved in 'sextortion' of more than 10 minors pleads guilty

Some of the minors he knew from the school district where he worked.

flickr ice castles new brighton 2020 - Greg Gjerdingen

The Ice Castles, a winter favorite, are coming back to the Twin Cities

The popular attraction was canceled last winter due to COVID.

joey meatballs

4 new vendors coming to Rosedale's POTLUCK food hall

Three restaurants and a VR company are opening soon.

flickr - Lorie Shaull - Line 3 pipeline Palisade July 2021

Enbridge misses deadline to fix its groundwater blunder

The company had 30 days to stop the leak it caused by not following its submitted plans.

wikimedia commons - the beach boys 2019 - joergens.mi

Beach Boys bringing 2021 holiday tour to Minnesota

The iconic band's "Holiday Harmonies" tour stops at Treasure Island just before the new year.

Related