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Alabama Attorney General: Don’t fall for scam artists this Valentine’s Day

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall is warning Alabamians about the potential for online scams through dating platforms.

“Romance scams prey on the most vulnerable aspects of human nature — trust, hope, and love. Predators have been known to empty bank accounts with their manipulation and lies,” said Attorney General Marshall.

“My office regularly receives reports of individuals falling victim to these heartless schemes. Because it is nearly impossible to recover money lost, I strongly encourage anyone who suspects they are being scammed to immediately contact my office. Our Consumer Protection Division can provide guidance before large sums of money are lost for good. It is my hope that we can educate and empower our communities to recognize the signs of online predators.”

According to the Federal Trade Commission, almost 70,000 people reported falling victim to romance scams totaling $1.3 billion in losses.

While this figure is high, the release states that the real number is likely even higher due to the fact that many who fall victim to these scams are embarrassed and don’t report the scam to proper authorities.

Marshall laid out the following guidelines for avoiding these kinds of scams:

  • Do not send money to anyone you are communicating with online or over the phone.
  • Do not give passwords or bank account information regardless of how much you trust this individual.
  • Celebrities will not ask for money so that you all can be in a relationship.
  • Use a search engine to do a reverse image search for profile pictures

If you do see a suspected scam online, you are encouraged to contact the Attorney General’s Office with a suspected scam at 1-800-392-5658 or visit AlabamaAG.gov.

Michael Brauner is a Senior Sports Analyst and Contributing Writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @MBraunerWNSP

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