If You See This Website, Don't Click on It, Experts Warn

Keep your eyes open for this new scam that many internet users are falling for.

The internet gives us access to a plethora of information, but it also gives scammers and hackers easy access to us. While most of us are aware that downloading anything could potentially put a virus on our computer or phone, we may want to be as cautious when clicking on unknown websites—even if they appear legitimate at first. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) recently sent out a warning to internet users about a new scam website that could end up causing a lot a financial damage for those who stumble on it. Read on to find out which site you should never click on.

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The BBB is warning about an influx of fake dating websites.

Young adult woman swiping on an online dating app. She's using her smart phone on the sofa at home.
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The BBB released a statement July 9 to warn internet users about fake dating websites, which try to con unsuspecting victims looking for love. According to the agency, the BBB Scam Tracker has received several new reports about fake dating websites popping up online. These websites have users sign up for a dating service that seems legitimate, but is not.

"You've probably heard about romance scams where con artists trick unsuspecting victims into falling in love—and parting with their money," the BBB explains. "In this con, it's the entire dating website that's a sham."

These sites will try to take your money by having you sign up for a membership.

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According to the BBB, the objective of a fake dating website is to con people out of their money. The agency says that users are asked to fill out a profile with their personal information, which includes their credit card number to pay for the "membership." But if you try to cancel your membership, the scammers will typically keep billing your card regardless.

The BBB also says some fake dating websites will even try to require people to pay to contact other dating profiles. "One victim reported joining a dating service where she bought 'coins' in order to chat with other members," the BBB warns.

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There are signs you may be using a fake dating website.

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The BBB says many of these fake dating websites have clear "red flags." These sites are typically filled with fake profiles that are incomplete and may lack photos and other basic information. You will also likely be encouraged to connect with people who don't match your dating profile, like profiles of people who appear to be located in a different city or are outside your preferred age range.

"If you haven't even completed your personal profile and people are lining up to meet you, it's probably a scam," the BBB warns. "You may also notice that profiles frequently vanish from the site—even after you've chatted with them."

The BBB says there are steps you can take to avoid being scammed by a fake dating site.

business man working with laptop computer while sitting in coffee shop cafe
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Fake dating websites may be becoming more common, but that doesn't mean you have to become a victim. The BBB says the first thing you should do before signing up for a dating website is research. If you search for the website's name, you should be able to see if other negative reports about the website potentially being fake have been made. You should also only ever use your credit card when paying for online services or memberships, especially if you're uncertain about the website.

"When you pay with your credit card, you can dispute any unauthorized charges or charges made for fake services. The same may not be true if you use your debit card or if you give a company your banking information, such as your account number and your bank's routing number," the BBB explains.

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Kali Coleman
Kali is an assistant editor at Best Life. Read more
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