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The accessibility of internet can bring people together, but it is also important to be cautious towards who you connect with online. In time for Valentine’s Day, the FBI issued a warning on Romance Scammers: criminals that use publicly accessible personal information to con people into a fake relationship.

The FBI recommends the following in keeping yourself safe:

To stay safe online, be careful what you post, because scammers can use that information against you. Always use reputable websites, but assume that con artists are trolling even the most reputable dating and social media sites. If you develop a romantic relationship with someone you meet online, consider the following:

  • Research the person’s photo and profile using online searches to see if the material has been used elsewhere.
  • Go slow and ask lots of questions.
  • Beware if the individual seems too perfect or quickly asks you to leave a dating service or Facebook to go “offline.”
  • Beware if the individual attempts to isolate you from friends and family or requests inappropriate photos or financial information that could later be used to extort you.
  • Beware if the individual promises to meet in person but then always comes up with an excuse why he or she can’t. If you haven’t met the person after a few months, for whatever reason, you have good reason to be suspicious.
  • Never send money to anyone you don’t know personally. “If you don’t know them, don’t send money,” Beining said. “You will see what their true intentions are after that.”

Read more below:

FBI: Romance Scams. Online Imposters Break Hearts and Bank Accounts.