Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum has a warning for people looking for love online – if an online love interest asks you for money, it’s probably a scam.
Every year, the Oregon Department of Justice receives heartbreaking reports about “romance scammers” – especially around Valentine’s Day – who create fake profiles and eventually convince people to send money in the name of love. Some even make wedding plans with their victim before disappearing with the money. Several victims in Oregon have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
An online love interest who asks for money is almost certainly a scam artist, especially if the person:
- wants to leave the dating site immediately and use personal email or Instant Messenger (also known as IM)
- claims love in a heartbeat
- claims to be from the U.S., but is traveling or working overseas
- plans to visit, but is prevented by a traumatic event or a business deal gone sour
Scamming “sweethearts” also like to say they are out of the country for business or military service.
To stay safe from these online fakers, don’t wire money, buy a prepaid card or send cash to cover:
- medical emergencies
- hotel bills
- hospital bills for a child or other relative
- visas or other official documents
- or losses from a temporary financial setback
Don’t send money to “tide someone over” after an alleged mugging or robbery, and don’t do anyone a favor by making an online purchase or forwarding a package to another country. One request leads to another, and delays and disappointments will follow. In the end, the money will be gone – along with the person you thought was in love with you and would do anything for you.
If you think you have fallen victim to a romance scam, contact the Oregon Department of Justice online at www.oregonconsumer.gov or call 1-877-877-9392.