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Updates on Trump tariffs and his Supreme Court nominee. Also on the Wednesday rundown: New Hampshire in the news in a clean energy report; and doctors address the rise of AFib – a serious and sometimes invisible cardiac issue.

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Better Business Bureau Warns Romance Scams On the Rise

AARP Video on Romance Scams
February 16, 2018

LOS ANGELES – Valentine's Day may be past us this year, but people looking for love online in the United States and Canada have lost more than $1 billion in the past three years – with the number of complaints rising annually, according to a new report from the Better Business Bureau.

Researchers estimate there are 25,000 scammers actively trolling for victims on dating sites, spending months wooing people online before asking them to wire money for some fictitious emergency.

Jarrod Wise, vice president of marketing and business development with the Better Business Bureau in San Francisco, says scammers often give themselves away by insisting a person leave the dating site to keep in touch.

"If you are engaging with someone on a dating site, and they want to go off the site within a few conversations, that's a big red flag that that's a potential scam, because they're trying to hide themselves from the dating site,” he says. “So, they want to get off that communication portal and engage with you through a text message or email."

The study also estimates more than a million people in the U.S. have fallen victim to a romance scam in the past five years, and even more worldwide – and sadly, some have even taken their own lives after discovering it was a hoax.

Wise suggests checking up on people who connect online by doing an image search to see if that same picture has been used on other sites. He says you can do the same thing with the messages they send.

"If they send you like a poem, or a long message saying something like, 'Hi dear, I miss you, I love you,' copy that text, and put it into Google search, and see if that same text has been popping up on other sites also, because they'll typically use the same messaging with multiple victims," says Wise.

AARP has tips to avoid scams on its Fraud Watch Network, at 'AARP.org/fraud.' They include never sending money to someone you haven't met in person, watching out for people who claim to be from the U.S. but say they're in the military or working overseas, people who are hard to reach by phone, and those who make excuses about not being able to meet in person.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - CA