Midwest Heritage Offers Tips for Avoiding Online Dating Scams

posted on Tuesday, October 09, 2018

 Social media networks and dating websites have become increasingly popular tools for meeting and communicating. Unfortunately, fraudsters have capitalized on this trend and often create fake profiles to lure in victims, establish romantic relationships and eventually, extort money.

According to the FBI, over $220 million was lost in 2016 to online romance scam artists. Older Americans in particular have been targeted by this type of scam.

While online dating can open doors to loving, happy relationships, there are more and more reports of criminals using these platforms to take advantage of unsuspecting users. Approach these relationships with caution so you don’t end up with a broken heart and an empty wallet.

If you’re concerned that you or a loved one are being scammed, take the following precautions:

  • Slow down – and talk to someone you trust. Don’t let a scammer rush you.
  • Never wire money, put money on a gift or cash reloadable card, or send cash to an online love interest. You won’t get it back.
  • Contact your bank right away if you think you’ve sent money to a scammer.
  • Report your experience to:
    • The online dating site.
    • The Federal Trade Commission (FTC): ftc.gov/complaint.
    • The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI): ic3.gov.

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Midwest Heritage, a Hy-Vee company, is a full-service financial center offering a comprehensive array of products and services. Midwest Heritage is headquartered in West Des Moines, Iowa, with branches in Chariton, Iowa, and five Hy-Vee store locations in central Iowa. Midwest Heritage offers the personal service of a community bank with the convenience of a larger bank. FDIC Insured, Equal Housing Lender. Visit us at www.mhbank.com.