Romance scams on the rise warns FBI - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Romance scams on the rise warns FBI

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LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

While thousands of couples celebrated Valentine's Day, others still looking for love, might be looking in the wrong places.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation warned singles about cat-fishing scams. Cyber security experts said on the other side of the screen, cases of crooks, praying on the vulnerability of singles, are on the rise.

Online dating can be fast and easy: reflecting the digital age, but Cozie Harris said, it's a bad memory.

"I walked up and I'm like 'You don't look like the same person on your profile,'" Harris said. "It's scary. It's a scary world out there as far as dating period."

Harris said she met one of the smooth-talking scam artists the FBI is warning thousands of singles about.

"People lie about what they look like, what they have and what they do," Harris said. "I just would rather know up-front."

Cyber security expert Mack Jackson said he sees an even bigger problem than what's on the surface.

"Information is the new currency," Jackson said. "People who are online, they're looking to be involved with someone to share information."

However, trying your luck at love online, doesn't have to be a bad experience, he said.

"The advantage is you can talk to anyone," Jackson said. "The disadvantage is, you can talk to anyone. They need to be vetted."

Jackson said before meeting people in-person, try video chatting them first.

"Contact the website that you're a member of and let them know too that you have some concerns," Jackson said. "They can help you in the vetting process."

When it comes to building a profile, Jackson said be careful what is put out there.

"Protect your PII, which is personal identifiable information," he said. "You want to make sure that you never give out anything that can identify you as an individual: a unique number like your credit card or social security."

According to the FBI, older widowed or divorced women are targeted the most. These women are usually computer savvy, but also emotionally vulnerable.

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