By Jerri Stroud, BBB Editor
Looking for your perfect match online or through a local dating service? BBB advises you to keep your eyes open and beware of potential scams as Valentine’s Day approaches.
In recent years, the number of online dating services has mushroomed, with sites aimed at seniors, at Christians and at other demographic or cultural groups. Many boast about the size of their database of potential dates and use testimonials from satisfied customers.
Anyone who’s gone on a blind date knows that the chance of romance working out in person is small. But the chances of an online date turning out to be the person of your dreams could be even smaller. BBB has received numerous complaints about the quality of matches, such as nonsmokers being paired with smokers or about dates who were too old, too young or too far away.
Worse, some online dates are outright scammers dressed up to look like an alluring man or woman. The swindlers flatter their victims and appear to be in love with them, but then a fake emergency arises, and the date needs money to travel, to take care of a health problem or some other invented need. Once you send money, you’re unlikely to be able to contact the date again.
In many cases, the swindlers ask that the money be sent by Western Union, MoneyGram or a prepaid cash card like Green Dot MoneyPak. If you send money, the chances of getting it back are extremely low. And if the money is sent overseas, there’s little that law enforcement can do to get your money back.
Today’s BBB press release has tips that can help you avoid scams when using a dating service, as well as things you should be aware of before you sign up online or for a locally based service.