Don't be fooled this Valentine's by online romance scams
ROANOKE, Va.- – If you get an unwanted Valentine on Thursday beware. It could be crooks trying to win your trust before running off with your money.
Looking for a love connection this Valentine's Day seems harmless. You want the candy, flowers and romance but just make sure it doesn't lead to heartbreak and an empty bank account.
"They very quickly are in love with you and you are the love of their life. They try to take you offline to another form of communication," said Julie Wheeler, with the Better Business Bureau serving Western Virginia.
Wheeler wants you to look out for crooks taking advantage of people through online romance scams. They contact them on dating websites, apps or social media, often using fake profiles.
"They will have an emergency. Maybe they were out of the country. And something's come up and they can't get to their money in the U.S. but you can send them money and help them out."
Be careful what you share on social media. Also, never send money to someone you've never met. And it's usually a red flag if they don't want to meet you in person.
"If somebody tries to tell you not to talk to your family or friends saying this is kind of a secret for right now. They are trying to keep you from hearing the voice of reason. They want to isolate you. They are in some shape or form or asking you for money or they asking you to do something."
Once a person has drained you for all the money they are going to get Wheeler says the effects after they leave you alone can devastating.
"The emotional toll on this of someone who has lost a spouse, or been through a divorce or thinks they found the love of their life. Someone who is convinced, it takes a huge emotional toll. There are reports around the country of attempted suicides."
Most of the people behind the scams are almost always out the country and according to the BBB, anyone can be a victim.
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