I-TEAM: These scams may have you looking for love in all the wrong places

Source: Colin / Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 4.0 via MGN
Source: Colin / Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 4.0 via MGN(KALB)
Published: Feb. 14, 2020 at 3:29 PM EST
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Friday, Feb. 14, 2020

News 12 at 6 O’Clock/NBC at 7

AUGUSTA, GA (WRDW/WAGT) – This is the time of year that cyber criminals like to play cupid.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, people lose more money to romance scams than any other type of scam.

For some people, today is a celebration of love. For others, it can be a little lonely. Bad guys know this, which is why they choose today to prey on those looking for love.

Hopeful lovers lost more than $201 million in romance scams last year, which is six times more lost than in 2015. Bad cupids use the internet as their weapon to target lonely hearts.

One way they do it is phishing for singles looking for love.

Matchmaking websites see their numbers go up this weekend. Bad cupids prey on the surge of new customers by sending emails to update their password on a dating website. They bank on newbies to a dating website sharing their password and other information.

This one is called the Sugar Daddy Set Up.

"Sugaring," is a growing trend where younger women and men (who call themselves sugar babies) look for an older "sugar daddy" or “sugar momma” pay them in gifts or cash in exchange for companionship. Scammers use sugar daddy websites to connect with potential sugar babies. They offer to pay off their sugar baby's credit balance then ask for gift cards in return as a thank you.

Unfortunately, the accounts used to pay off the credit card balances are fraudulent, and once a credit card company catches on, the recently deposited funds will disappear from the account, leaving the victim on the hook for both the original balance and the cost of the newly purchased gift cards.

First they steal your heart and then they steal your identity and money.

The FBI is even concerned about romance scams. They urge those looking for love to research photos and profiles in other online search tools and ask questions.

Never provide your financial information, loan money, nor allow your bank accounts to be used for transfers of funds.

Copyright 2020 WRDW/WAGT. All rights reserved.

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