(WAFB) - Millions of Americans use dating apps, social networking websites, and chat rooms to meet people, and while many find love, it's also a way for scammers to find victims.
"Fraudsters often create fake profiles to form online relationships, and eventually convince people to send money in the name of love. While these criminals most commonly target divorced or widowed women over 40, every demographic is vulnerable to romance scams. So I encourage all Louisiana residents to use vigilance," said Attorney General Jeff Landry.
To avoid such scams, Landry offers the following tips when engaging in online relationships:
- Protect personal information: Make sure the dating site does not sell personal data to third party advertisers and remember that every post will be seen by others. Find out what happens to a profile when the subscription ends.
- Never send money: Even if the story sounds convincing, do not pay transportation costs, medicals fees, or other costs for a new fling.
- Keep your guard up: Be wary of dates claiming that phone conversations are not possible, wanting to leave the dating site immediately, or use a personal email address or instant messaging. Also be wary of those claiming to be an American traveling or working overseas.
If you or someone you know has fallen victim to an online romance scam, contact law enforcement immediately. Thefts can be reported to the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center online here. Victims can also call the Consumer Protection Hotline at 800-351-4889.