OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Experts predict this Valentine’s Day weekend will be costly for many – but instead of spending on flowers and chocolates, in many cases, the money will be going to scammers on social media and dating sites.
According to social media investigative site – SocialCatfish.com – this is common and costly.
Americans lost more than $20 million to romance scams in 2019.
“People are confined and yeah, it’s harder to meet people so it has kind of sparked up with COVID,” said Jake Hudson, of Oklahoma City.
Hudson is a military servicemember and bodybuilder who says his photos have been stolen by scammers – to create fake profiles – making real people fall in love – and send them money.
“It’s easy for them to pose as me and say oh, I’m stuck in France or I’m stuck in Afghanistan or whatever and I need you to send me money,” he said.
The Better Business Bureau says if someone falls in love too fast, refuses to meet or video chat, or seems too good to be true, they probably are.
It also says Catfishers like to manipulate victims by telling them how important trust is to them – before asking for money.
Hudson says victims have found his real pages and reached out to not just him – but his loved ones and even his gym – sometimes aggressively – demanding their money back.
“I would FaceTime them and let them know it’s me, no we’re not in a relationship, you have not sent me a dime,” said Hudson.
The BBB recommends you never send any money or personal information and do your research.
A quick reverse image search is possible on Google.