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Local woman speaks out to teach others how to avoid being misled online

"Don't give them your information and for God's sake don't give them any money."

Posted: Feb 13, 2018 10:25 PM

KIMT NEWS 3 – With Valentine’s Day on Wednesday, the FBI is warning people to not be so trusting online.

Last year, the Bureau received more than 15,000 reports linked to people being misled by people who were not who they said they were. In more than half of those complaints, money was lost.

This is something that can start on an online dating site or even social media.

Anne Denney, of Clear Lake, said she received Facebook messages from random people asking her about her personal life. She quickly ended the conversations, as she feared they would soon ask her for money and she felt as if she was being tricked.

“They're looking for you, and they want to get your money so watch out that's all I can say," Denney said.

She said the first giveaway she saw on the Facebook messages was broken English. Comments like "I decide to send you request for us to chat" and "I'm a widower and I have a daughter of 8 years old."

She said that's not usually how someone would speak, or type. The messengers would then try to keep the conversation going.

"They seem like they act like they're interested in you as a person, want to hear more about you," Denney said. "Basically they're just trying to get as much information out of you as they can so they can use it against you."

She said she's speaking out because often, single women are the ones targeted.

"This is the time of year that they're targeting it, you know with being around Valentine's Day," Denney said. "Look at me, I've had three come at me already so I'm right here in Clear Lake so why would people you know stop there? They're doing it wherever they can."

Her guard was up, but she was curious so she clicked on their profiles.

"It had their image, it had their little child with them, and didn't have much information," Denney said. "So watch for that because it shows they just have limited information on their little front page and that's it."

She also said another thing to look out for is if someone is always unreachable.

"They're out of touch that you can't quite reach them for comment or this or that or whatever because they don't want to be caught obviously," Denney said.

Denney said she's afraid they're using other people's identities to try to trick people. She urges people just to be careful online, no matter if it's on social media or an online dating website.

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