x
Breaking News
More () »

Corpus Christi's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Corpus Christi, Texas | kiiitv.com

BBB: Scammers taking advantage of social media, online dating to rip off the lonely as Valentine's Day approaches

Katie Galan with the Better Business Bureau tells us that thanks to social media and online dating, romance scams have become big business.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Much will be spent this weekend on flowers, cards and gifts -- the unmistakable signs of Valentine’s Day. But it’s also a time when, in their search for romance, lonely hearts can become vulnerable to a shakedown and victims of a sham.

Katie Galan with the Better Business Bureau tells us that thanks to social media and online dating, romance scams have become big business.

“What we mostly see as far as people being scammed, in particular with the romance scams, are people who are usually about 50 or so and older. Those people lost about $55,000, with one woman in particular losing about $43,000.”

Keep in mind, that’s just what’s being reported to the BBB here in Texas.

Across the U.S. last year, more than 23,000 people lost over $600 million to this type of scam – that’s according to the FBI. It comes with a warning that the criminals who carry out this crime are experts at what they do.

By simply watching what you post on social media, they will initiate online conversations on topics that are interesting to you, eventually leading you to believe you are in a relationship, and then using a bogus need to get to your money.

Don’t believe all of the sad stories,” warns Galan. “Be very, very skeptical; this is a really good time to be skeptical. If something just doesn't feel right, check it out.”

Remember, it is never a good idea to send money to someone you haven’t met personally, and if you think you are in a relationship with someone you have yet to meet face-to-face, be suspicious.

If you think you may have been the victim of a scam, you should immediately stop all contact and report it to the BBB and the FBI.

It is a good way to protect yourself from those who want to break your heart and your bank account.

To learn more, watch this message from the FBI.

You can also read this account of someone who was targeted by scammers.

More from 3News on KIIITV.com: