They say that love is blind, and unfortunately, scammers know this all too well. However, there are a few things that you can do to avoid getting taken.
With Valentines Day coming up, scammers know that many of us will be focused on having some kind of a love connection. They will often pose as someone who says all of the right things, is a good listener, and who wants to move quickly in the relationship, even into marriage. They might tell you they need money for a sad story, or to cover expenses for coming to see you. The problem is, they never meet in person and they continue to scam people in many other ways, including gaining control of people’s accounts. Sadly, this is also the time of year when scammers target seniors with the grandma/grandpa scam. Scammers call someone who they believe to be elderly, posing as a grandchild, niece or nephew, who is in trouble and needs money to be sent right away, but beg the senior not to let their parents know.
There are a few telltale signs that the online connection or phone call could be a scam. One of these signs includes the scammer telling you that they want to talk offline or they tell you not to tell anyone about their call. Another clue is that they seem to dodge around giving you a straight answer to your question. If you are told to send money in the form of a prepaid debit or gift cards like an I-Tunes or eBay card, this is also a red flag that you are being targeted by a scam. And, in the case of a love connection, never provide money or personnel information to someone that you cannot meet in person.
If you get scammed or suspect a scam, never be too embarrassed or scared to speak up! If something seems confusing, talk with a trusted family member or friend who may be able to help you sort things out. If you think you were scammed, contact legal authorities, and consumer groups like our Call 4 Action office for help. Although it may be difficult to get your money back, we can help with providing resources and information. Your information also helps us to warn others.