Lilo Schuster spent years looking for love. Then she met who she thought was a handsome U.S. soldier online and she was smitten.
"I thought we were going to get married," Schuster said.
So when he asked to borrow money, she wired it over, again and again. But it turns out, her love was a con artist using a stolen photo. She was heartbroken and out $23,000.
It's a sad scenario, but one that happens over and over again. In fact, online dating scams cost people $230 million dollars last year, according to the FBI.
So here's how you can avoid becoming a victim.
"Set up a time to meet, or at least speak on the phone or have a video chat. If somebody really doesn't want to do that -- there could be trouble," said Jonathan Hood, an attorney with Consumer Affairs.
Another red flag is a profile with basic spelling or grammar errors. That could mean he or she is a scammer located overseas. Also, watch out for photos that look a little too glossy. Put the picture through a Google reverse image search.
"If you get a million results for it, chances are it's some kind of a stock photo," Hood said.
And no matter what, never send money. Instead, report the person to the dating site and block him or her from ever contacting you again.
You can see more of Schuster's story on "American Greed" on CNBC.
If you think you’ve been the victim of a scam, file a complaint with Call 12 For Action and our team of investigators will get to work for you.
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