The month of February is commonly associated with love and romance. On Valentine’s Day, couples spend quality time together, family and friends exchange valentines, and lastly, many singles continue their search for the right partner.

According to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, couples are more likely to meet a romantic partner online than through personal contacts or connections. Furthermore, the publication noted that a 2017 survey revealed that meeting online has become the most popular way couples meet, eclipsing meeting through friends for the first time in 2013. The dating app, Tinder, reported as of September 2019 that it had approximately 7.86 million active users in the United States.

However, online dating has its dangers. Predators can create fake identities to lure in victims to gain access to their finances or instigate sexually or physically abusive relationships. The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Economic Crimes Unit works to prevent fraudulent scams, like the common “Romance Scam.” Once a relationship has been established online, the out-of-town suspect convinces the victim to wire money so the person can travel to visit them or help them with a dire personal emergency.

Fraud is a preventable crime if you know what to look for. Here’s how you can keep yourself from becoming a victim:

  • Never send money.
  • Carefully examine their profiles.
  • Use reverse image search on their pictures.
  • End the relationship if they refuse to meet you face to face.
  • If you do meet the person, pick a public place and let a friend or family member know where you are.

If it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is. A loving relationship would never ask you to step beyond your personal boundaries financially or otherwise. If you are the victim of the Romance Scam, or any type of fraudulent scam, contact the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office at (727) 582-6200.


Posted by Saturday, February 1, 2020 3:40:00 PM

Non Emergency Line: (727) 582-6200 | In an Emergency call 911ADA info