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FBI advises public of online romance scams

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is raising awareness about online romance scams, otherwise known as confidence fraud. (File Photo)

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is raising awareness about online romance scams, otherwise known as confidence fraud.

In confidence fraud, scammers take advantage of people looking for romantic partners on dating websites, apps or social media by obtaining access to their financial or personal identifying information.

Especially during this time of year, the FBI said romance scams are prevalent.

According to the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center, romance scams result in the highest amount of financial losses to victims when compared to other online crimes.

In 2016, almost 15,000 complaints were categorized as romance scams, nearly 2,500 more than the previous year. Those complaints are associated with more than $230 million in losses.

According to the FBI, the following tips are to be considered if you develop a romantic relationship with someone met online:

  • Research the person’s photo and profile using online searches to see if the material has been used elsewhere.
  • Go slow and ask questions.
  • Beware if the individual seems too perfect or quickly asks you to leave a dating service or social media site to go “offline.”
  • Beware if the individual attempts to isolate you from friends and family or requests.
  • Beware if the individual promises to meet in person, but then always comes up with an excuse why he or she can’t. If you haven’t met the person after a few months, for whatever reason, you have good reason to be suspicious.
  • Never send money to anyone you don’t know personally.

If you believe you are a victim of a romance scam, click here to file a complaint online.

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