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Tips on Staying Safe While Dating Online

When dating online, never send a money transfer to someone you have not met in person. That’s the advice that Western Union and Better Business Bureau are offering consumers in hopes of preventing some Valentine’s Day heartbreak.

Many people find true love via online dating sites, but there are red flags to watch for that may indicate you’re dealing with a scammer. Beware of anyone who:

• Asks to talk or chat on an outside email or messaging service, as this allows fraudsters to carry out scams without the dating site having a record of the encounter

• Claims to be from this country but is currently travelling, living or working abroad

• Asks you for money or credit card information

• Sends you emails containing questionable links to third-party websites

“Romance scams take many forms, but they usually start out with fraudsters quickly expressing feelings of affection,” said Mary E. Power, CAE, president and CEO of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. “They may strike immediately, or they may lead their victim on for some time in order to build trust. No matter how much your relationship might seem like the real thing, you should be suspicious if someone you only know online asks you for money or personal information like credit card numbers.”

“We share BBB’s mission to advance marketplace trust, and work hard to earn the trust that people place in our brand,” said Shelley Bernhardt, Western Union Director of Consumer Protection. “We are committed to reaching consumers with tools to protect themselves from falling victim to scams. Western Union provides a trusted and reliable way for people to send money to family members and friends but should not be used to send money to someone you have not met in person.”

What else can consumers do? Visit BBB Scam Stopper, a site launched by Western Union and BBB to help consumers reduce their chances of becoming a victim of a scam.

Source: BBB news release

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