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Don’t get scammed by fake love

It’s Valentine’s Day season. Love is in the air. According to a news release from Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, so too are online scams.

“A fake online romance can break your heart and the bank,” Yost said. “Knowing how to spot the red flags can keep bad love from getting worse.”

Scammers and Victims

Yost said scammers typically claim to live overseas, and that they need money because of a fake medical emergency or a need to leave their country. Oftentimes, they pretend to be in the military.

Last year, Yost’s office received 57 complaints of potential romance scams, with total losses of approximately $4 million. The release mentions two notable incidents.

A woman from Clinton County said she lost nearly $500,000 to someone she met on a dating website. The individual said he was from Egypt and needed help shipping goods internationally.

A Richland County woman said she lost $300,000 to a scammer who claimed to need assistance paying for hotels and attorneys.

Protect Yourself

Yost encourages Ohioans to follow these online dating suggestions:

Person at laptop

Stay alert for online scams.

  • Research people you meet on the internet. Search their names and pictures online and consider running a background check.
  • Don’t send money to someone you’ve only met online.
  • Be wary of emotional manipulation. Scammers may claim that destiny brought you together.
  • Talk to family and/or friends about online relationships, even if you are asked by the other party to keep it secret. If you plan on meeting in person, consider bringing someone with you.
  • Never send money by way of wire transfer, gift cards or prepaid money cards.
  • Never reveal personal information like your address, credit card numbers, bank account numbers or social security numbers.

Who to Contact

Persons who suspect a scam should call the Ohio Office of the Attorney General at 800-282-0515 or visit ohioprotects.org.


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