The Macomb Daily

AG offers tips to stay safe and avoid financial heartache

- By Gina Joseph

It’s hard to believe but scammers will rush to say I love you if it means getting what they want.

This Valentine’s Day, Attorney General Dana Nessel is warning people about online romance scams that take advantage of people looking for romantic partners on dating sites, apps, or social media.

Be cautious with what you share online.

“Never send money or sensitive data to someone you have not met in person,” Nessel said in a news release. “Protect your heart, your personal identity, and your wallet from scammers.”

Online romance scams can put people at risk of being scammed out of financial resources, identity theft or being saddled with an expensive contract that cannot be canceled. It can also lead to becoming a victim of stalking and assault. Many free dating apps do not screen whether users are registered sex offenders. Online romance scams can also make your personal informatio­n available to a wider audience than you expect or exploit fake relationsh­ips to turn victims into unwitting criminal accomplice­s to fraud, known as money mules.

To help protect consumers against online romance scams Nessel’s office offers the following tips:

• Read your contract carefully before signing it.

• Use reverse image search websites like TinEye or Google Images to see if their image shows up somewhere else.

• Never agree to meet for the first time in a private setting. Insist on a public place where there are sure to be other people around and tell a member of your family or a friend where you will be and when you will contact them again after the meeting.

• Never agree to open a bank account, or re-ship goods they send to you.

• Don’t send money, prepaid gift cards, or cryptocurr­ency to someone you met online.

• Do not cash a check and then send that money to someone else if you are asked. Be suspicious. Criminals convince their victims to open bank accounts under the guise of sending or receiving funds. These accounts are used to conduct criminal activities — often by foreign actors who need a U.S. bank account to launder their illegal funds.

• Stay on the dating app only for communicat­ing.

• Avoid giving out your personal phone number or email address.

• If someone new on your social media rushes a friendship or romance, slow down and talk to someone you trust before responding.

For more informatio­n visit

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