Nevada has the highest online romance scams per capita, according to a study released last week by HighSpeedInternet.com and Safewise.
“America’s Matchmaker” Patti Novak says loneliness can make otherwise smart people vulnerable to online “fantasy relationships.” The owner of Vegas Valley Introductions recommends that online daters meet in person as soon as possible instead of endlessly texting. “Dating is about chemistry,” she said. “We build chemistry in person.” Real-life connections can also help diffuse scammers who are often based abroad.
The FBI recommends that singles do their due diligence and research to make sure the other person’s story adds up. As always, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Novak takes it a step further and performs a criminal background check on her clients, but a simple Google search should get you pretty far.
“If you don’t know somebody, don’t send them money,” FBI Special Agent Christine Beining says in a video on FBI.gov. She warns that scammers will endear themselves to victims, gain their trust and then ask for money. The shame of falling prey can be devastating. “We’re all human. We all make mistakes,” Beining says. “I just hope victims who have fallen prey to this can learn and hopefully not enter into another scam.”