FBI warns of online romance scams


With Valentine's Day just around the corner love may be in the air, but so are scams.

Florida is among the three states with the highest number of victims of confidence fraud. Confidence fraud can take the form of online romance scams where criminals target victims on social media and dating sites. Scammers try to establish a relationship with the victim and then quickly gain trust and ask for money.

FBI special agent Christine Beining said these criminals target both men and women and can end up breaking your heart and your bank account.

“ Anyone is subject to this. If you’re online, if you’re using the internet, as long as you have money and you’re willing to give it then you could be a target," Beining said.

The FBI says be careful what you post online because scammers can use that information against you. If you do meet someone online the FBI advises that you research the person's photo and profile to see if the material has been used elsewhere and never send money to anyone you don't know personally.

If you suspect an online relationship is a scam,stop all contact immediately. If you are the victim of a romance scam, file a complaint with the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.

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