(WPRI) - The controversy surrounding a Notre Dame Football star and a girlfriend who never existed has put online dating back in the spotlight.
Millions of singles turn to internet dating sites every day, hoping to find that special someone, but unfortunately many people find themselves caught up in a scam that not only robs them of their money but of their trust.
"Catfishing" scams are not a new phenomenon, but new technology like social media has made them a little more common, and they are a lot like the classic "phishing" scams that swipe a consumer's information.
These scams are also known as "Sweetheart Scams" and in 2011 such online dating hoaxes were among the Better Business Bureau's top ten scams of the year.
In the past, the Federal Trade Commission has advised consumers of some of the warning signs of an online dating hoax which include:
- Wanting to leave a dating site immediately to switch over to personal e-mail or instant messaging accounts.
- Proclaiming instant feelings of love.
- Claiming to be from the United States but currently overseas.
- Planned visits or face-to-face encounters that keep getting cancelled.
The BBB also advises consumers to never wire money to those online sweethearts who ask for help with things like travel or sudden medical emergencies.
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