National Bank Offers Tips for Avoiding Online Dating Scams

Blacksburg, Virginia – Social media networks and dating websites have become increasingly popular tools for meeting and communicating. Unfortunately, fraudsters have capitalized on this trend and often create fake profiles to lure in victims, establish romantic relationships and eventually, extort money.

According to the FBI, over $220 million was lost in 2016 to online romance scam artists. Older Americans in particular have been targeted by this type of scam.
“While online dating can open doors to loving, happy relationships, we are receiving more and more reports of criminals using these platforms to take advantage of unsuspecting users,” said F. Brad Denardo, President and CEO of National Bank. “Approach these relationships with caution so you don’t end up with a broken heart and an empty wallet.”

If you’re concerned that you or a loved one are being scammed, National Bank recommends taking the following precautions:
  • Slow down – and talk to someone you trust. Don’t let a scammer rush you.
  • Never wire money, put money on a gift or cash reload card, or send cash to an online love interest. You won’t get it back.
  • Contact your bank right away if you think you’ve sent money to a scammer.
  • Report your experience to:
    • The online dating site
    • FTC
    • FBI
 To learn more about online dating scams, view the ABA Foundation and FTC’s infographic.  
National Bank is a 126 year-old community bank based in Blacksburg, Virginia. The bank serves Southwest Virginia with 25 branch offices and one loan production office. The bank’s holding company, National Bankshares, Inc., has $1.2 billion in assets and is traded on the NASDAQ Capital Market under the symbol “NKSH.”