Denver, CO – July 17, 2012 – Millions of people looking for love use dating and social networking sites to meet people. The Association of Psychological Science reports online dating is now the second most common way for couples to meet – surpassing church, gym and bars.
While many wish to start a successful relationship, it’s important to remember that the anonymity of the Internet is to the advantage of con artists looking to meet potential victims. “Online, it’s easy to pretend to be someone you are not,” said Dale Mingilton, president and CEO of the BBB Serving Denver/Boulder. “Scammers create fake profiles to build online relationships, and eventually convince people to send money in the name of love.”
Such scams are a sad, yet common occurrence and con artists have been known to pose as members of the military. Recently, a mother-daughter team from Brighton, Colorado was indicted by the Colorado Attorney General for running such a scam. According to the indictment, the team lured unsuspecting women to internet dating sites by posing as members of the U.S. military serving in Afghanistan. After a phony relationship was established, victims were asked to send money and were led to believe that the soldiers would use the money to retrieve property, travel to the U.S., and pay other expenses.
When using the Internet to find love, the BBB warns consumers to beware of the following red flags:
· They are unable to physically meet you. Scam artists are unwilling to meet their victims in person, and will only communicate online or by phone. They often claim that they are unable to meet due to career or life circumstances that take them overseas.
· They share similar interests. Typically, the scammers are charming and sensitive towards their victims, and pretend to share the same values in order to gain their trust. They are also quick to develop a relationship and talk of love. Many scam artists send flowers and gifts that were purchased using stolen credit cards.
· There is a sudden emergency. Once the relationship has been developed, scam artists will claim that there has been an emergency and they need your assistance. The emergency often involves a family member’s health, and they ask you to wire money to them because they are unable to access their account.
Don’t give anyone you are interacting with on a dating site sensitive information that could be used to steal your identity or gain access to financial accounts. The BBB also recommends doing research beforehand to make sure the dating service you are using is legitimate and has a favorable business review with the BBB.
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About the BBB
The BBB is an unbiased nonprofit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Businesses that earn BBB Accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization’s high standards of ethical business behavior. The BBB provides objective advice, BBB Business Reviews , BBB Charity Reports and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. To further promote trust, your BBB also offers dispute resolution services for consumers and businesses. The first BBB was founded in 1912. Today, there are 115 local, independent BBBs across the U. S. and Canada. Please visit www.denver.bbb.org for more information.