As Valentine’s Day approaches, watchdogs say beware of romance scams

The Better Business Bureau offers a few tips on what to watch out for.
6 News is on your side with what you need to know to avoid someone taking a piece of your heart -- and your wallet.
Published: Feb. 1, 2023 at 4:47 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Valentine’s Day is less than two weeks away, and of course, the time to show and tell your spouse or significant other how much you care about them.

There are traditional cards, candy or flowers that are readily available at the neighborhood grocery or florist.

However, it’s also a time to be very cautious if you’re looking for love or companionship.

“Oftentimes these are older people who have lost a loved one, widows or widowers,” said Jim Hegarty, regional president of the Better Business Bureau.

Hegarty tells 6 News scammers often use this time of year to try to meet someone online, win their trust -- and steal their money. The BBB features a section on its website dedicated to romance scams and what to watch for.

“Essentially, these are criminals that create fake profiles on online dating sites that are designed to lure unsuspecting victims into pretty horrific traps,” Hegarty said.

Hegarty says there are a couple of warning signs that someone is trying to wedge their way into your heart...and your bank account.

First, they’re never willing to meet you in person or go on a physical date. Second, they try to pull you off the site on which you met and instead attempt to communicate secretly via FaceTime or text message.

Also, do a Google image search of the person you’re talking with. If the image pulls up a bunch of different profiles or names, they likely are not who they say they are.

Hegarty notes there are many online dating sites that are legitimate, but he says it’s a good idea to get a second opinion. Tell your friends about any romantic communication you might be having so you aren’t ripped off.