Falling in love can make you feel as though you’re walking on air, but if a budding relationship is exclusively online, it’s important to keep your feet on the ground. Here are some tips to avoid becoming a romance scam victim.
- You may be charming and attractive, but scammers will try grooming you by flattering your ego. Be suspicious if things progress too quickly without meeting each other in person.
- Watch out if your new friend starts making financial requests. He or she may play with your heartstrings and say there are medical expenses to pay or ask you for travel expenses for a date. Don’t do it.
- Never send cash, cashier’s checks, gift cards or wired funds to unverified individuals. It’s almost impossible to get that money back.
- Resist the temptation to send expensive gifts to your virtual boyfriend or girlfriend. Save that for when and if you meet in person. Even then, don’t spend more than you can afford.
- Private information, such as your account number or PIN isn’t to be shared with anyone but joint account owners.
- Don’t provide your address, credit card numbers or Social Security number to someone you’re talking to on a dating site or in a chat room.
- Resist any effort to connect to your account to an online friend’s, even if they claim they’ll only make deposits.
In short, a healthy amount of skepticism can keep you safe whenever you start seeing—or chatting with—a new love interest.