Consumer Column

Attorney General Jeff Landry Warns Consumers to Beware of Online Romance Scams

BATON ROUGE, LA – Millions of Americans use dating sites, social networking sites, and chat rooms to meet people; and many find true love. But with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry is warning our State’s people that scammers also use these sites to meet potential victims.

“Fraudsters often create fake profiles to form online relationships, and eventually convince people to send money in the name of love,” said General Landry. “While these criminals most commonly target divorced or widowed women over 40, every demographic is vulnerable to romance scams. So I encourage all Louisiana residents to use vigilance.”

In order to avoid heartbreak and protect finances, General Landry encourages consumers to follow these three tips when engaging in an online relationship:

 

  • Protect Personal Information. Ensure the dating site does not sell personal data to third parties or advertisers, remember every post will be seen by others, and find out what happens to profile when subscription ends
  • Never Send Money. Even if their story sounds convincing – do not pay for a new fling’s transportation costs, medical fees, government documents, and/or losses from a “bad business deal”
  • Keep Guard Up. Be extremely wary of dates claiming phone conversation is not possible, wanting to leave the date site immediately to use personal email or instant messaging, or alleging to be American traveling or working overseas
If you suspect that you or someone you know has fallen victim to a romance scam, contact law enforcement authorities as soon as possible. Report thefts to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov/default.aspx and call General Landry’s Consumer Protection Hotline at 800-351-4889.

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Coming soon, the attorney's general office seeks to provide a mechanism by which to take online payments for collections.