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The situation with Manti Te'o has drawn a lot of attention to the issue of getting scammed online. We talked about it on the show this morning, and we wanted to share these tips from the State Department to help you avoid getting scammed.
photo credit to YouTube screenshot
Here's how you can recognize what the State Department called "sweetheart scams" (like the one Manti fell for):
- you met the person online, typically through a dating site, a social media site, or an employment-seeking site
- they ask you for money to get them out of a bad situation
- photos of the person are very attractive, and very good quality (typically, scammers take photos from modeling agencies)
- they seem to very, very bad luck. They tell you about multiple car accidents, or illness, or major issues with family, being mugged... they always seem to be the victim of a terrible crime or accident
- they claim to have a family member die after you begin having regular conversations with them
- they claim to have family overseas
- they use poor grammer, indicitive of someone whose native language is not English, even though they claim it is
- they refuse to skype or video chat
- their social networking accounts (Facebook) don't have many friends or interactions with a lot of other people
A great way to tell if you're being scammed is to search their pictures! You can upload a photo into Google Search, and Google will scan the internet to see if that photo to see if it appears anywhere else on the internet, like a modelling agency or another social media account.
For more tips from the FBI, click here!