MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - When it comes to finding that perfect match, a lot of folks turn to online dating services. There are all kinds of options out there but Sadly, there are also all kinds of con artists looking to prey on people who are lonely and looking for love.
"With all the social media platforms some people looking for love may be looking in the all the wrong places,” said David Smitherman with the Better Business Bureau of Central Alabama.
This may surprise you. The Better Business Bureau says people lose about $1 billion a year in romance scams. There are a lot of legitimate and safe online dating sites. But you really never know who’s on the other end of that message until you do some digging. Experts warn, don’t be fooled by someone who seems too good to be true.
“So, what happens is you connect with someone on one of these apps. During this period of time it's a nice chat back and forth. They may send you flowers or some gifts. This is called the "Grooming Stage". They are setting you up and gaining your trust, and will eventually ask for money.”
There are some red flags to watch out for. If the person you’ve connected with online is never available to meet in person, claims to be out of the country, or always has an excuse, be careful. Never send money to someone you’ve never met before, but it happens all the time. A Birmingham woman was recently scammed out of $30,000 by a man posing as a love interest until she sent him the money.
You can find more on Romance Scams and what to do if it happens to you on the Better Business Bureau website.