LANSING, Mich. (WILX) – Valentine’s Day is a little over a week away. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is offering tips on how to avoid romance scammers.
According to the FBI, romance scams occur when a criminal adopts a fake online identity to gain a victim’s affection and trust. The scammer then uses the illusion of a romantic or close relationship to manipulate and/ or steal from the victim.
Romance scammers have the intention to establish a relationship as quickly as possible and gain the trust of their victims and may often propose marriage or plan to meet in person, eventually asking for money.
Officials warn that scam artists often say they are in the building and construction industry and are engaged in projects outside the United States. This makes it easier to avoid meeting in person and creates a better reason to ask for money for a medical emergency or unexpected legal fee.
If you suspect an online relationship is a scam, officials suggest that you stop all contact immediately. If you are the victim of a romance scam, you can file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) here.
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