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Experts warn of online dating scams as Valentine's Day nears

Beware of online dating scams
Posted at 10:58 PM, Feb 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-12 23:00:59-05

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — Experts warn people to beware of online dating scams that tend to spike during this time of year.

Millions of Americans have tried dating websites.

“If its too perfect, its probably not real,” said Claudette Bennett of the Charlotte Co. Sheriffs Office.

The online digital age continues to soar to new heights, as people are communicating on the internet more now than ever.

It is important to check all your boxes to avoid a potential dating scam.

The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office Crime and Prevention unit recommends doing a quick google search and setting up a video chat to ensure the person is indeed who they claim to be.

“Unless you are actually video facetiming with someone you have no idea who’s on the other end of that computer,” said Krista Zimmerman.

One of the biggest romance scams is people soliciting money. Never share personal or financial information.

“Whether their child is ill, they are ill, they need a plane ticket, they would like to come see you, their gas…anything having to do with money is the biggest red flag you could get, ” said Zimmerman.

Charlotte County Sheriff's Office says the elderly are most likely to be involved in online dating scams because they are most venerable and often looking for companionship.

Lookout for users, falling head over heels.

“We all want to be lovable, but if it’s too quick then ts probably a scam, ” said Bennett.

“Don’t be blind to the things that are obvious to you, and trust your gut,” said Claudette Bennett.

According to the Federal Trade Commission victims of romance scams lost a reported $201 million in 2019.

When exploring a new dating site, be sure to do your research on each user before getting too involved.