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Sometimes Cupid can be a cheat

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SOUTH PORTLAND — Online dating apps have become the new normal in dating, but online romance can lead to some romance scams.

The South Portland Police Department is working with AARP Fraud Watch Network to help dating app users spot a romance scam before they get too involved. AARP Fraud Watch Network is a free resource that helps spot scams and will provide advice from a fraud specialist if for those who have been targeted.

There are many red flags that can be spotted in an online romance scam. The police department has narrowed down a few important ones to look for: The person in line begins to profess their feelings for someone before they even get to know them. They may offer to pay for a tour but ask for help with travel costs, then cancel plans at the last minute. According to the South Portland Police Department’s Facebook page, if an unknown person is asking for money online, it’s most likely a scam.

“Many victims don’t see the crime coming because they weren’t looking for love online to begin with and think ‘it just happened. This is a common ploy for scammers,” the South Portland Police Department wrote in its warning.

Those in need of assistance should contact the South Portland Police Department or local police department or call the AARP Anti-Fraud Hotline at 877-908-3360. There are also online support sessions for emotional support https://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/voa-rest-program/.