TUCSON, Ariz. — During the holidays some people don't want to be alone and they look online for love. But the Better Business Bureau says you should stay vigilant before you end up with a broken heart and empty bank account.
Some people look for love on the web, but could you be looking in the wrong places. The BBB says if you use dating sites, apps and social media to fill the void you should beware. That's because that new love might be more interested in the cash in your wallet. Irene Manzanedo with the BBB says you have to stay vigilant.
"If you ever get approached and they're looking for anything from you, personal information a favor a loan for money stay away. Scammers are not interested in completing the profile so when you look at the profile and there's a lot of incomplete information big red flag," Manzanedo said.
According to FBI investigators, romance scams are targeting people of all ages, education levels and economic backgrounds. However, older women and widows are targeted the most. Protecting yourself can be as easy as a web search.
"Number one; you get approached by someone online, the first thing you should do is vet the profile. Look at their picture. Does the picture look fake? Confirm your thoughts, upload it to Google images. You can see at that point if the picture has been used," Manzanedo said.
The FBI says romance scams have the highest amount of financial loss to victims compared to other online crimes. in 2017, over 15,000 complaints were filed with the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center and the losses were more than 230 million to consumers. then in 2018, the complaint numbers jumped to 18,000 with more than 362 million dollars in losses resulting in a 70 percent increase in losses. Romance scams continue to be one of the costliest scams in the United States and if you are a victm report it here.