Rip-off Romeos and sweetheart swindles

Valentine's Day consumer warning

CLEVELAND - Valentine's Day is a unique day for celebrating love and expressing feelings and appreciation for the special people in our lives. Unfortunately, it is also an opportune time for scam artists to take advantage of consumers and steal their hearts along with their money.

Rip Off Romeos:  Millions of Americans utilize online dating sites to search for that perfect match and it can be a very successful way to meet someone special. Scammers are also taking note of these sites though and targeting singles of any age and location. This is accomplished through the creation of fake profiles designed to steal identity information, financial details or simply money.

BBB Tip: Do not fall for someone who is quick to develop a relationship and claim instant feelings of love. Scammers use emotional ties to increase the chances of their success. If your match asks for money to cover travel expenses or has a sudden emergency requiring an extensive amount of money, there is a high probability that it is a scam. Do not wire money or provide bank account numbers or other personal information in response to such pleas.

Personal Matchmaking: Dating or matching service memberships can cost thousands of dollars. Complaints reported to BBB primarily concern dissatisfaction with the matches provided and difficulty cancelling contracts. When choosing a personal matchmaking company that promises introductions to area singles with specified criteria, it is important to do research beforehand and to be cautious.

BBB Tip: Gather information about the company's history and reputation before meeting with a company representative to discuss the services provided. Inquire about the manner in which introductions are made, the company's confidentiality policies and your cancelation rights if you are dissatisfied with the service. Do not commit to signing a contract until you read and understand it completely.

Phishing E-mails and E-Card Viruses:  As Feb. 14 approaches, everyone expects the usual notes of love or e-cards to arrive via email. Cyber-crooks are well aware of this and use this time of year to trick those who are love-struck into divulging personal and financial information through false alerts from florists or fake greeting card websites that actually download viruses to steal personal information.

BBB Tip: Only open emails, attachments, and links from people you know. Enhance email filters to block any such threats. Watch out for unsolicited emails with subject lines such as, Someone just sent you an e-card or Send your loved one a Valentine's Day card today. If you ordered flowers and receive an email indicating a problem, directly contact the florist to ensure the e-mail is legitimate - chances are it is not.

The BBB encourages consumers to make informed, pre-purchase decisions, especially around Valentine's Day, by doing their research and checking out businesses online through a company's at www.cleveland.bbb.org or by calling 216-241-7678.

Print this article Back to Top

Comments

More stories

Love Your Heart on Valentine Love Your Heart on Valentine's Day

Talk to one of the Cleveland Clinic cardiologists on our "Love Your Heart" phone bank or take part in a live web chat with doctors about heart health.

Electric companies urge customers to avoid using metallic balloons on Valentine Electric companies urge customers to avoid using metallic balloons on Valentine's Day

Gas and electric companies are urging residents to avoid the use of helium-filled metallic balloons this Valentine's Day.

Valentine Valentine's Day roses: Meaning behind each rose color

Before you give your loved one a dozen roses, make sure you know what each color means.

Healthy Valentine Healthy Valentine's Day treats

Thinking about what you can get your sweetie for Valentine's Day. Maybe a nice bottle of red wine, a little chocolate?

U.S. Postal Service customizes Valentine postmarks U.S. Postal Service customizes Valentine postmarks

Seventeen cities take part in the postmark cancelation program, including Bliss, Aromas, Beauty, Loveland. 

Missouri couple celebrates one last Valentine’s Day after 63 years of marriage Missouri couple celebrates one last Valentine’s Day after 63 years of marriage

A couple spends their last Valentine's Day together as they prepare to say goodbye after 63 years of marriage.

Scientists study what goes on in a body -- and brain -- in love Scientists study what goes on in a body -- and brain -- in love

Lovers, or would-be lovers, take note: Affairs of the heart can produce some pretty strong physical reactions.

Explore medieval love this Valentine Explore medieval love this Valentine's Day at Kent State

The Bernardus Medieval Music Ensemble will be performing "The Eternal Flame: Visions of Love Throughout The Medieval World".

Valentine Valentine's Day deals for Qdoba, Krispy Kreme, Starbucks and more

Valentine's Day freebies this year include free coffee, entree with kiss and spaghetti for one year if getting engaged.

Four red flags to avoid while online dating Four red flags to avoid while online dating

Dating is hard enough. But when you throw in a few thousand online profiles, it's overwhelming. Dating coach, Joann Cohen says it's easy to avoid the duds, if you know the red flags.