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Online Dating Scams Can Wreck a Romance and a Life

Certain signs may indicate that your romance is not what you think it is

By OnGuardOnline.gov | June 13, 2012

In the digital age, many people have found romance online.

Others have found heartache or worse.

In the early days of a relationship with someone you've met online, employing some caution can keep you from regret. Here are some signs that someone may have less than good intentions:

  • Wanting to leave the dating website immediately to use personal email or IM.
  • Claiming to have fallen in love in a heartbeat.
  • Claiming to be from the United States, but traveling or working overseas.
  • Canceling a visit because of a traumatic event or a business deal gone sour.

Scammers also like to say they're out of the country for business or military service.

What You Can Do About It

You may lose your heart, but you don't have to lose your shirt, too. Don't wire money to cover:
  • Travel.
  • Medical emergencies.
  • Hotel bills.
  • Hospital bills for a child or other relative.
  • Visas or other official documents.
  • Losses from a temporary financial setback.

Don't send money to tide someone over after a mugging or robbery, and don't do anyone a favor by making an online purchase or forwarding a package to another country. One request leads to another, and delays and disappointments will follow. In the end, the money will be gone along with the person you thought you knew.