BBB warning about possible romance scams ahead of Valentine's Day

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KSFY) - The Better Business Bureau is warning people about possible romance scams ahead of Valentine's Day.

Last year the organization issued an in-depth study on the scams, describing how fraudsters target people who are looking for romance.

A scammer uses legitimate dating websites to lure victims into a fake online relationship and convinces them to send money.

The BBB's follow-up study describes how fraudsters then exploit that relationship further.

"When we dug a little deeper, we found that so many of these scammers turn their victims into criminals by making them 'money mules' for their illegal syndicate," BBB State Director Jessie Schmidt said.

"Money mules" act as financial middlemen in a variety of scams. In some cases they are laundering money from other victims by receiving cash and sending it on to the fraudsters.

The BBB said to take online relationships slow, and never wire money to people you do not know.