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Valentine’s Day A Good Time To Warn About ‘Sweetheart Scams’

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AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – Many people say online dating helped them find love, but there also scams, and the Better Business Bureau says the problem is not going away.

Some people are using that search for love to steal victims’ money.

There really is no way to be certain that the person you’ve met on a dating site is telling you the truth. And when they pull at one’s heart strings it can be easy to trust the wrong person.

“I thought, ‘Here is a person who could accept me for me,’ ” an Aurora woman who didn’t want to be identified told CBS4.

The woman was the victim of a “sweetheart scam” after finding what seemed like a good match on the dating site ChristianMingle.com. But the man who sent her flowers soon asked her to wire $1,000 to Malaysia.

“His daughter needed money for an exam and like a fool I went and sent the money Western Union,” the woman said.

She never heard from her online Romeo again.

“As a country, as a population we’re generally fairly trusting,” Dale Mingilton with the BBB said.

Mingilton says it’s a scam that anyone can fall for but there are warning signs.

“Don’t wire money because wire, once it’s gone, it’s gone,” he said.

Other scams involve the dating sites themselves. Mingilton says always read the fine print before agreeing to anything and watch for high pressure tactics.

“Read, read, read and read. If you get high pressure, turn it off, just stop at the high pressure,” he said.

Also, have realistic expectations.

“They cannot guarantee you’re going to be falling in love with someone or someone is going to fall in love with you.”

And no matter how reputable the site, watch out for fake profiles.

“There are good organizations that try and do some buffering, some screening, provided everybody is honest.”

The BBB says with the dating sites it really is about the fine print, especially when it comes to canceling a contract. Other issues involved problems with billing complaints; some sites might give a special price but only for the first month.

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