Jan. 24, 2013. You may have seen recent news reports about a college football player’s involvement with an online girlfriend who turned out not to exist in real life. Regardless of what details ultimately emerge, this is a good reminder to use caution when getting to know someone online.
The online world makes it easy for someone to hide their true identity, and easy for them to find and befriend unsuspecting people. Con artists and online predators will even use information you reveal about yourself online to craft an identity they think will attract you.
Social networking and dating websites have given new life to so-called sweetheart scams. Some con artists use these sites to create fake profiles and then try to form relationships with unsuspecting people. They gain their victims’ trust, and eventually, try to exploit them financially.
- People aren’t always who they say they are online.
- Beware if someone you meet online begins asking you for money, even a small amount.
- Never send or wire money to a stranger you meet online. Once the money has been wired, it is highly unlikely you will ever get it back.
- Never give out your personal information to someone you meet online, no matter what the circumstance or why they say they need it.