FBI warns Texans about scammers ahead of Valentine’s Day

HARLINGEN, TX (ValleyCentral) — With only a few weeks left until Valentine’s Day, the FBI is warning those looking for love from online scammers.

According to the FBI, romance scams typically occur when the perpetrator uses a fake online identity to gain the victim’s affection and trust.

The scammers then use the illusion of romance or intimacy to manipulate and/or steal from the victim. These people are highly manipulative and seem plausible, but a clear sign that you are dealing with a scammer is refusing to meet in person.

These scammers are on most dating sites and social networks.

“The intent of the scammer is to establish a relationship as quickly as possible, win over the victim and gain trust,” the FBI said in a statement. “Scammers may propose marriage and schedule a face-to-face meeting, but this will never happen. Eventually, they will ask for money.”

Authorities say scammers often use the phrase that they work in the construction industry and are involved in projects outside the US. This avoids face-to-face meetings. It also makes it more plausible to ask for large sums of money for “medical emergencies” or “surprise legal fees.”

According to the FBI, if you are flirting with someone online and they ask for your bank account information to deposit money, then they are most likely using your account to carry out other theft and fraud schemes.

If at any point you suspect that your online relationship is a scam, the FBI recommends that you immediately cut off all contact. Victims of these romantic shenanigans are strongly encouraged to file a complaint with the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center.

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