Valentine's Day rip offs: the red flags of con men looking to steal money, not hearts

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Valentine’s Day is a time when people are ready for love. But too often, con men and rip off artists will use this holiday to steal your money instead of your heart.

The Better Business Bureau of Kansas Cit y put out the following red flags you need to be aware of when entering the world of online dating:

  • Bad grammar and misunderstanding the use of American slang
  • Expressing feelings of love too quickly
  • Needing urgent financial assistance
  • Claiming to be traveling for business overseas
  • When answering tough questions, they delay responses by saying that they need to take a phone call (they are looking up ways to respond)

This is also the time when a lot of consumers receive strange emails, making it sound like you received a gift from a friend or loved one.  Here are some warning signs from the BBB to avoid:

  • Social Media Scams: "Free" giveaways for flowers, perfumes, or vacations. Links will often send you to third party sites infected with viruses that steal personal information.
  • Instant Messaging: IMs might invite users to a romantic online chat, but again, directs to a third party website.
  • E-Cards: Emails from friends that link to an online greeting card may actually lead to downloading malware. Triple check the contact information so that you know exactly who sent the card and where you are downloading it from.
  • Phishing: Similar to Christmas phishing scams, an email warns that a delivery service such as FedEx or UPS was unable to deliver your gift. When consumers click the links, they will get malware.
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