LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) - - In today’s world, the age of meeting a potential spouse in person is in the shadow of social media and online dating sites.
But there's a danger that comes with meeting people online.
As online dating spreads like wildfire, this only gives crooks and scammers another avenue to try and steal your money..only this way, they can lead a victim on for months before finances become a topic.
In the past three years, a nearly $1 billion loss has been reported because of romance scams.
The Better Business Bureau believes those numbers are just the tip of the iceberg.
"That’s a lot of money. A lot of times when people get scammed, they don’t tell anyone about it. If it’s a financial scam, fix your bad credit scam, anything like that you still don’t talk about it. But, romance scams for sure you don’t talk about" said Sharane Gott with the Better Business Bureau.
Which allows the scammers to work under the radar.
The lack of law enforcement and media attention is somewhat of an asset to the thieves.
So we asked students at UL Lafayette how they avoid being victims of online scams.
Drake Delcambre told us, "You start talking about money, that’s a real serious topic with most people these days, especially with the economy, so that puts up red flags."
Adrienne Jolivette said, "Personally, it’s not my forte. I’m more old-school, I feel you meet the person in person, the connection."
Jolivette said in addition to checking the person's social media for multiple photos and local ties.
"I’d probably be silly and make you send me a picture of you holding a banana or something. Just so I know it’s real."
Sometimes we don’t think clearly when the heart is involved.
So before sending money to anyone you’ve met online, consult with a friend or family member. If you are a scam victim report it to authorities.
If there’s an ongoing issue in your neighborhood or community, or you have questions that need answers, Dial Dalfred at 262-0868.