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More young people are becoming victims faster than ever.

SAN ANTONIO — Valentine’s Day is today, and many are still scrambling, not just for flowers and chocolate, but even for someone to call their Valentine. However, looking for love can often end up with you finding yourself in a romance scam.

Social media and dating apps are one of the main ways people find romance. But, you need to be careful with who you talk to online, because the person you may end up meeting may not be who they say they are. 

“These types of scams are truly heartbreaking because it’s very difficult to tell another person that, this love is real, this relationship is real,” said Jason Meza from the Better Business Bureau.

The BBB says these scammers don’t do the job in just one night. 

“They take their time. They really invest in their victims to hopefully achieve enough buy in. They build up momentum in this relationship that hopefully that one day they need emergency funds that they can count on you,” Meza said.

Social Catfish, a company that verifies online identities using reverse search technology, released their State of Romance Scams in America using 2023 data from the FBI and FTC. Texas was the second most at-risk state for romance scams, with $60.3 million lost last year. 

What are some of the signs your online valentine is a romance scammer? 

They ask for money in gift cards or crypto, they are too attractive and successful. They will not meet or video chat. They serve in the military or overseas. They have very poor grammar.

Here are some tips from the BBB to help you avoid romance scams: 

  • Be cautious of immediate confessions of love 
  • Never wire money to online interests
  • Verify the authenticity of photos
  • Do research and ask questions

“Do your own homework on the person. Verify if they really work at a location, if they really are at a residence. I mean, you can do all this online, in the meantime, while you’re chatting with this person to really verify this person is real,” Meza said.

Meza also told us, children often recognize romance scammers before their single parent who is too close to the situation to realize it isn’t love. 

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