(WXYZ) — FBI Detroit has a warning for the community: "Don't let scammers break your heart or your bank account."
In a press release, the FBI said that romance scams involve someone adopting a fake online identity and then gaining a victim's trust and affection, using that to manipulate them or steal from them later on.
According to the FBI, scammers may say they are in the construction industry working on projects outside of the U.S. when suddenly they ask for money for an "emergency."
They provided these tips to help you avoid getting duped:
- Be careful what you post and make public online. Scammers can use details shared on social media and dating sites to better understand and target you.
- Research the person’s photo and profile using online searches to see if the image, name, or details have been used elsewhere.
- Go slowly and ask lots of questions.
- Be aware if the individual seems too perfect or quickly asks you to leave a dating service or social media site to communicate directly.
- Beware if the individual attempts to isolate you from friends and family or requests inappropriate photos or financial information that could late be used to extort you.
- Beware if the individual promises to meet in person but then always comes up with an excuse for why he or she can’t. If you haven’t met the person after a few months, for whatever reason, you have good reason to be suspicious.
- Never send money to anyone you have only communicated with online or by phone.
If you believe you have been the victim of a romance scam, go to www.ic3.gov to file a complaint with the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center.