Cyberspace is full of scammers eager to take advantage of lonely hearts.
The con works something like this: You post a dating profile and up pops a promising match — good-looking, smart, funny and personable. This potential mate claims to live in another part of the country or to be abroad for business or a military deployment.
Over weeks or months you feel yourself growing closer. You make plans to meet in person, but for your new love something always comes up. Then you get an urgent request. There’s an emergency (a medical problem, perhaps, or a business crisis) and your online companion needs you to send money fast, typically via gift cards, prepaid debit cards or a wire transfer.
They'll promise to pay it back, but that will never happen. Instead, they will keep asking for more until you realize it's a scam and cut them off.
Romance scammers are smooth operators and can take their time to set their trap. Watch out for these red flags if you’re looking for love and companionship online.