Better Business Bureau offers tips to avoid romance scams

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COLUMBUS, Ga- The Internet is a popular way to look for love, but it’s also an increasingly popular avenue for criminals to target unsuspecting people to steal money.

Kelvin Collins with the Better Business Bureau of Columbus says such scams are common, not only at Valentine’s Day, but year-round.

“Lookout for people who avoid meeting you in person.  There’s always some excuse why they can’t meet you,” says Collins.

Usually, the scam artists claim to be out of the country or traveling and that is why they cannot meet.  Eventually, they get the nerve to ask for money.

Collins adds not to be fooled if they ask for the money after investing a lot of time in building an online relationship or even talking via phone.  This scam plays on the emotions.

“The scam artists are not in it for the quick buck. These are people, they are in it for the long haul, so they will work with you over a month, two months, sometimes six months, and they’ll get money from you on several different occasions,” Collins adds.

Collins also says these scam artists usually claim they have emergencies which seem real.  However, don’t give them money.

Gift cards have also become popular commodities for scam artists, lately iTunes gift cards in particular.

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