Pennsylvania – With Valentine’s Day approaching, love is in the air… and so are dating scams.

Be careful when using dating services on websites or social media. Not everyone is who they claim to be, and you should be especially suspicious if someone asks for your personal or financial information or asks you to send them money.

One man in a national dating scam story says he never thought it would happen to him, but he nearly lost $53,000 to a man pretending to be a woman online. In another national story, a woman’s family says she sent more than $20,000 to a man she never met.

Click below to listen to audio from the people involved.

Scammers will pretend to fall in love, all the while with the ulterior motive of taking your money.

Scammers may say that they need money to travel to meet you or that they need help fixing their car, paying hospital bills, or getting out of jail.

Once you have sent money to a scam artist, the chance of getting that money back is slim.

Consumers can do a few things to ensure they don’t end up a victim:

  • Do your own background research on the person.
  • Never wire money to someone without verifying the authenticity of the person or the reason for sending the money.
  • Never send money via cash or gift cards because funds cannot be recovered. If you send funds through wire transfer, you may not be able to recoup the funds unless the transfer is cancelled before pickup.
  • Be wary of someone who always makes excuses or “has something come up” whenever plans are made to meet in person after they have received money.
  • Look out for anything that seems too good to be true. This includes someone instantly professing that they love you or if the person sends you photos of “themselves” that seem like a supermodel.
  • Take note if you are made to feel isolated or cut off from family and friends. This is a red flag.
  • Tell family members or friends about who you are dating. They likely won’t be wearing those “rose-colored glasses” and might be more likely to spot any warning signs.

If you think you’ve been the victim of a scam, please call the Office of Attorney General Bureau of Consumer Protection hotline at 800-441-2555, email [email protected] or click here to file a complaint.

For more information, you can always visit the PA Attorney General website or call 717-787-3391.

If you ever suspect that something might be a scam, don’t hesitate to contact your police to get their advice and file a local report.

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