Eyewitness News told you Friday the story of a Central Georgia woman who lost her life savings after she gave about $800 thousand to an online love interest she met through a dating site.
RELATED | Warner Robins Woman Loses Life Savings in Scam
The Federal Trade Commission refers to that as dating fraud.
According to the FTC's website, OnGuardOnline.gov, millions of americans use dating sites, social networking sites, and chat rooms, and can be taken in by those who create fake profiles.
Some scammers, the FTC says, even make wedding plans, but disappear with the money instead of making it to the altar.
The website warns an online love interest who asks for money is almost certainly a scam artist and it offers some tips on how to recognize them.
1. Your online significant other wants to leave the dating site immediately and use other kinds of private communications.
2. He or she is willing to claim love too quickly.
3. Your romance is allegedly from the U.S but is always claiming to be out of the country.
4. Every visit he or she plans to make to see you is "postponed" or canceled by a trauma, emergency, or business deal that fell through.
So what can you do to safeguard yourself?
For one thing, making online purchases or sending packages to other countries can be risky.
A top rule the FTC shares is to never wire money, even if the person asking says it's to cover travel, medical emergencies, hotel bills, hospital bills, visas, or any other temporary financial crises.
Be especially wary of the types of frauds that involve someone who says he or she has been robbed while traveling and needs a temporary loan to return home. According to the FTC, those stories are almost always lies.
Finally, if you suspect a scam, report it immediately to the Federal Trade Commssion, the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center, or your state's attorney general or office of consumer affairs.