By Lavendrick Smith, The Charlotte Observer

With Valentine’s Day approaching next week, the FBI is warning Charlotteans about possible online dating scams.

The scammers take advantage of people who use dating apps or online dating websites, and then obtain access to that person’s financial or personal identifying information after establishing a connection.

In 2016, there were nearly 15,000 complaints of romance scams reported to the FBI, according to a Friday news release from the agency’s Charlotte office. The tricks resulted in the loss of more than $230 million from the victims, the release states.

If you have been scammed by someone you’ve met online, you can file a complaint to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.

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Stay alert when interacting on dating apps. Tips for best practices include researching a person’s dating profile to verify their identity and being wary if someone quickly asks to take the conversation away from the dating service. The agency also urges people to never send money to someone on a dating service.

LaVendrick Smith: @LaVendrickS

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This article was originally published by The Charlotte Observer.

The Charlotte Observer

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