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SOUTH PORTLAND — Online dating apps have become the new normal in dating, but online romance can lead to some romance scams. 

The South Portland Police Department is working with AARP Fraud Watch Network to help dating app users spot a romance scam before they get too involved. AARP Fraud Watch Network is a free resource that assists in spotting scams and will provide guidance from a fraud specialist if for those that have been targeted. 

There are many red flags that can be spotted in an online romance scam. The police department has narrowed down a few important ones to look for: The person online begins professing their feelings for someone before even getting to know them. They may offer to pay for a visit but ask for help covering travel costs and then cancel the plans at the last minute. According to the South Portland Police department’s Facebook page, if an unknown person asks for money online, it is most likely a scam. 

“Many victims don’t see the crime coming because they weren’t looking for love online to begin with and think “it just happened. This is a common ploy for con artists,” the South Portland Police Department wrote in its warning.

Those in need of assistance should contact the South Portland Police Department, or local police department or call the AARP Fraud Helpline at 877-908-3360. There are also online support sessions for emotional support 

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