HOUSTON - Everyone wants their love story to end happily ever after.
But if you're searching for love with a keyboard your ending might be happily never ever.
"Just in 2019 romance scams that were reported to the F.B.I. totaled over $425 million in losses," said FBI spokeswoman Christina Garza. "That's a lot of money and those are the ones who came forward."
"I felt a real soul to connect with him right away," a romance scam victim says on the FBI website. "He was trying to finish up a job in California and he needed money to finish that job.
"We see the signs and the person that's being victimized is too blinded by love to see what's really going on," Garza said.
Of course, men can be victims of romance scams but the most likely victim is a woman over 50.
"Who doesn't want to be romanced who doesn't want to hear sweet nothings and that's exactly what these people do," said Garza.
While the scammer might make victims feel special they are probably reading off a script.
The Better Business Bureau posted actual scripts scammers use telling each other what lines will likely work and how to get money from a victim.
Here's how you can avoid becoming a victim of a romance scam.
- Never send money or gifts to a love interest you've never met.
- If the person asks you for money stop all communication with them immediately.
- Do a Google Image search of the person's profile.
- Never wire money to a stranger or pay anyone with gift cards.