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Better Business Bureau issues warning about online romance scams

"Money mules" are becoming more popular
Credit: Jeremy Baker

SAN ANTONIO — The Better Business Bureau is warning people about online romance scams that often escalate as scammers turn their victims into unwitting accomplices to fraud.

One of these scams turns victims unknowingly into "money mules." The victims end up receiving money or goods purchased with stolen credit cards. They are then asked to use the funds to send goods on to the fraudsters, often out of the country, not even knowing that they are participating in something illegal.

That's what happened to one woman in her late 50's from Omaha, Nebraska who wanted to remain anonymous. She told us, "As time went on he would have a friend send me money in my name for me to pick up, and after I got the money he would ask me to buy him some Amazon cards and tick off the numbers and send the receipt."

The BBB says to avoid money scams, check the person's online photographs, use the State Department to transfer emergency funds, verify overseas businesses, stay off sites you've been defrauded on before, and don't send money to people you don't know.