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    6 Signs Your Online Sweetie Might Be An Overseas Scammer

    The Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs receives daily calls about international scams involving Internet dating. Many scams are initiated through the Internet; victims range in age from teens to the elderly and come from all socio-economic backgrounds. Here are 6 signs your lover might be a scammer.

    1. It's escalating really quickly.

    mindythings.tumblr.com / Via mindythings.tumblr.com

    You meet in a chatroom or through a dating site, and your new friend immediately wants to take the conversation to email or IM. Eager to ramp up the intimacy and reel you in, scammers want to talk offline sooner than most.

    2. It's all real talk all the time.

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    Scammers will ask you all sorts of questions about your personal life, job, and background. They will often pose as U.S. citizens working outside of the country for business or military service, and they will gather details of your life through many, many conversations to steal your identity and perpetrate monetary fraud.

    3. Your Internet friend is Ivy League educated, looks like a swimsuit model and is really rich (or awaiting an inheritance that will come…though…any…day…now).

    Tumblr / Via heckyeahreactiongifs.tumblr.com

    If it’s too good to be true, it might be.

    Beware of professional-looking pictures, and try doing a Google image search if a profile or profile picture seems fake. Scammers often use the same profile content and photos many, many times. Searching a profile or a picture may help you determine if your new online friend is part of a larger fraud pattern. And, beware: online scammers don’t all claim to be Nigerian princes. Many come from Canada, Indonesia, and other places you might not ordinarily associate with online fraud.

    4. The struggle is [not] real.

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    Unemployment, sick family, eviction, and on and on. Scammers prey on your good intentions. They may not ask for your money, but they’ll share heartbreaking stories in hopes that you’ll send money to help. Beware of doctors and lawyers claiming to represent your online love interest. They could be part of the scam. Refer destitute U.S. citizens to their nearest U.S. embassy or consulate, where officers are available 24 hours a day and can provide loans in cases where someone is truly destitute.

    5. Your love interest has really. Bad. Luck.

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    Scammers build up anticipation, but they will rarely meet face-to-face.

    Don’t wire money to cover hospital bills, medical emergencies, visas or other official documents.

    6. The only digits your new friend wants is your bank account number.

    Giphy / Via giphy.com

    Your new lover wants to send you cash to buy a plane ticket to visit—all you need to do is send your bank account info. It’s a classic trick: scammers will try to phish your financial information in order to steal money from your accounts. Don’t make an online purchase or forward a package to another country. One request leads to another, and delays and disappointments will follow. In the end, the money will be gone, along with the person you thought you knew.

    Millions of U.S. citizens use dating sites, social networking sites, and chat rooms to meet people. And many begin successful relationships.

    Scammers also use these sites to meet potential victims. They create fake profiles to build online relationships and eventually convince people to send money in the name of love. An online love interest who asks for money is almost certainly a scam artist.

    Find contact info for embassies and consulates

    at http://www.usembassy.gov/ or travel.state.gov .

    Report fraud to econsumer.ftccomplaintassistant.gov.

    Happy Valentines Day!

    For more travel safety information and advice, follow @TravelGov, like Facebook.com/travelgov, or check out travel.state.gov.

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