Consumer Alert: Protecting your heart, money while searching for love online

Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — If you’re still searching for a Valentine there are some things you need to be aware of to guard your heart and your wallet from online dating scams.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, romance scams and similar schemes cost consumers more money than any other kind of scam. So, how do you look for love online or on social media without being duped?

First, watch out for the red signs.

Experts say scammers often start out by writing long letters, and crafting an entire persona for the the victim. Then at some point, they claim there’s been an emergency and there’s a pitch for money.

Be careful with people whose pictures look way to professional or if their profile is empty, except for pictures. Some scammers are also terrible with grammar, so look for broken English or basic working.

Watch out if they try to lure you off the dating site. Remember, the scammer’s goal is more often than not to get you to click on a link or call a scam number.

And definitely be careful with people who want to get way to personal too soon. If they ask about your birthday it could be an attempt to steal your personal information.

Other tips to keep you safe:

  • Consider using a separate email account for dating purposes
  • Get a second phone number
  • Take advantage of your dating site’s privacy features
  • Look into a person’s background
  • Before uploading any photos, remove the location data embedded in the picture

Speaking of pictures, when it comes to a potential suitor, copy the images on their page and run a search. A simple Google search could turn up information that might make you change your mind.

Above all, be careful and safe when looking for love online.