LIMA — So, you think you know your partner.
While you could be head over heels in love this Valentine’s Day, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine believes online scammers could want more from you than just commitment.
As the number of dating websites and mobile phone applications grow, DeWine is warning Ohioans to look for signs for online relationship scams, people who want to exploit your love for money.
How do you know if your partner may be a scammer? DeWine says individuals who won’t meet in person, claim to have an emergency need for money, or request payment using wire transfers or prepaid cards could be scammers in disguise.
In 2013, the Attorney General’s office reported an average of roughly $22,000 lost in romance, or “sweetheart” scams.
“Victims of this scam think they’ve found the right person, but often they end up losing thousands of dollars. Online dating works well for many people, but you have to be very careful,” DeWine said. “Don’t send money to someone you’ve never met in person.”
To avoid getting hit with a stray Cupid’s arrow, DeWine suggests tips to better know your online partner. Research someone you meet online and don’t rely on what that person tells you. Perform internet searches and consider getting a background check.
DeWine said scammers prefer money sent to them via wire or by prepaid money cards.
If you’re suspicious of your online partner, call 800-282-0515 or visit www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov.