BCSO, BBB warns of scams on dating apps as Valentine’s Day approaches

MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT)— Many people are turning to online dating during the pandemic. The Better Business Bureau and the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office want to make sure you stay safe in the process.

Hunter Jones —director of business services for the better business bureau— says there are red flags to look for as we approach Valentine’s Day. He says it’s important to get to know the person. It should signal a red flag if they don’t want to meet in person. He says often times scammers will take photos of real people and impersonate them.

“Suddenly they want to let you know they’re overseas, maybe they’re in the military and they’re not available right now,” said Jones. “Maybe within a week or two they’re telling you they love you and that’s when they follow up with I need your money.”

Jones says it should also signal a red flag if they want to communicate off the app. He says it’s best to stay on the app, so the conversation can be tracked.

“Make sure you’re being cautious and doing your homework and making sure that you know this person before doing anything with them as far as sending money,” said Jones.

With dating apps growing in popularity, Jones says scams happen in all age groups.

“We’re sitting at home and we’re dating online and we’re not able to meet these people in person as quickly or maybe in general so all ages from 18 and up all the ways to 70 year old seniors,” said Jones. “Everyone is capable of being scammed so we all need to be on the lookout.”

Corporal Tameika Jones with the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office says it’s important to do research. She suggests using a Google voice number until you’re more comfortable with that person. If you do meet someone in person, do it in a public setting.

“Take your own transportation that way if something feels eerie or something doesn’t feel quite right you could always leave on your own accord,” said Corporal Nelson.

She also suggests having multiple defense mechanisms when meeting someone. She says carrying pepper spray is a good backup.

“Always carry your phone and always let someone in your family know where you’re going,” said Corporal Nelson. “It wouldn’t hurt to get a picture of that person to pass on to your family members or your friends.”

What to do if you’re in trouble

  • If you’ve been scammed contact the BBB
  • If you feel like you’re in an unsafe situation contact law enforcement
Categories: Bibb County, Featured, Local News

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