Scammers targeting online dating sites - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Scammers targeting online dating sites

(WMC-TV) – Online dating isn't the taboo subject it once was.  It's actually pretty common.  And unfortunately so are con-men hiding behind those dating profiles.

"People make poor decisions when they're emotionally attached to something and online scammers are getting more and more creative with the way that they are getting a hold of your information and your money," said Kathy Graham, Executive Director of the BBB. 

The business of love is booming, but the companies aren't the only ones looking to cash in.  Scammers are lurking within some dating profiles, just waiting to pounce.

"They're going to play on that emotion to get your money," said Graham. 

The BBB started investigating a man, who goes by "Alfred Worth" or "Bob Williams" last month after a woman tipped them off.   

He has three Facebook profiles, two different names and a variety of photos. 

On the dating site, Plenty of Fish, he goes by "AWORTH22" and claims he is an environmental engineer. 

In chat messages with a fake profile, we called "Julianna", he's quick to develop a relationship and says he's currently working overseas and has very poor spelling and grammar. 

Less than a month after the correspondence begins, "Alfred" asks "Julianna" to fill out a document making her his next of kin. 

He told her it was because he cared for her and was planning long term. 

The documents ask for personal information like and address and a date of birth.    

"In my opinion, it absolutely is a scam," said Graham. 

"Alfred" then waves the biggest red flag of them all and starts chatting about his money problems. 

A few minutes later we set up a phone call. 

When he answers, Graham asks how much money he needs.  "Alfred" starts out with asking for $30,000, but quickly drops it $20,000. 

He then began giving specific instructions on how to wire the money. 

"You really think you have a bond," said Graham about the scam.  "You think you are communicating with someone that you could have a future with and all awhile, all they want to do is get in your bank account." 

Seconds after the getting off the phone, a chat message popped up with the account information for "Alfred's" bank in Liverpool. He had also prepped "Julianna" on what to say to the bank teller when they asking why she was wiring money. 

Of course we didn't send any money, but unfortunately a growing number of people each year do. 

"And I tell you once your identity is stolen once, he's going to sell it off to 50 different people, maybe a 100 other people," said Graham.  "It's something that is so hard to recover from." 

The scam is also dangerous as the "Next of Kin" sheet asks for an address, telling the scammer where you live.   

Remember to trust your head, not your heart when looking for love online.

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