- Don’t pursue a long-distance online relationship with a stranger. Why? Because most scammers target victims outside their area to avoid being caught or prosecuted.
- Use search engines to check out would-be dates. Wall Street Journal columnist Elizabeth Bernstein met someone online who seemed too good to be true. So, she cut-and-pasted one of his emails into Google - and the exact words popped up on several websites devoted to romance scams.
- Upload their photo to TinEye.com. It allows you to see where else on the Internet the photo has appeared – which is important, because a lot of con artists use photos swiped from a stranger’s Facebook page.
- Beware if they claim to be a soldier. Especially if they ask for money for special papers they claim to need to come home. According to the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command, there’s no such thing.
- Don’t fall for a sob story about a sick relative. Or if they claim to be at the airport on the way to visit you, but their credit card has been declined – and they need money for their ticket.
- Check to see if they scammed someone else. You can check websites like RomanceScams.org and PigBusters.net.
- Never, ever wire money to a stranger! Period.
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