HInts from Heloise: Romance scams are on the rise

Dear Heloise >> I hope I can save someone else from the mistake I almost made. It’s a long story, but I established a romantic, long-distance relationship with a man overseas by signing up on an online dating service. He was very romantic and asked that we move offline because his membership was ending. He seemed very nice, and he would email meal most daily with all sorts of sweet, comforting things to say. He sent me flowers and flattered me, but something was off. I could just feel it.

After five months, he said he needed $12,000 for emergency surgery. He asked me if I could help him. I seriously considered it, but my best friend stopped me. So I told him “no.” He begged and cried, claiming he’d die without it. The following week, he said he’d found a doctor in France who would operate for free, but he needed plane tickets and money for expenses. I said, “No, and don’t call me again.”

After doing some research, I found that romance scams are alive and well. Several sites warn people not to send money to your online lover for plane tickets or any medical/surgical needs. Do not pay to retrieve anything, do not purchase them a computer or a cell phone, and do not pay their bills. If they say they need help with paying their bills, say “no.” It’s not your problem.

Be careful with your money when it comes to online romance, no matter how much they flatter you or tell you that they love and need you. That’s called love-bombing, and it’s as phony as a $3 bill! They might offer up marriage or talk about your lives together in the future. But it’s a scam, and many people have lost thousands of dollars to crooks like these.

Romance scams are on the rise, so make sure to take heed of any potential red flags.

— Rose A., Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

HELOISE WRITES >> Got an old hair dryer? Here are some new uses for it:

• Dry the nail polish on your fingers and toes.

• Dry paint or glue on a craft project.

• Chase a spider away. They hate the feeling of heat or air blowing on them.

• Blow dust off delicate items such as antique jewelry.

• Dry damp handwashed clothing such as waistbands, underwear, socks, etc.

Dear Heloise >> Want your dairy products to last a little longer? Try this: For things likes our cream and cottage cheese, store the product upside down on a plate in the refrigerator and make sure the lid is on securely.

— Lois M., Troy, Michigan

Dear Heloise >> Spring is just around the corner, and it’s time to remind people to get their pets neutered or spayed before they have a litter.

Pets do not yearn for babies like a human does. It’s strictly biological. So please do yourself and your neighbors a favor and have this taken care of as soon as possible.

— Callie W., Detroit

Write to Heloise

P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000

Fax: 210-HELOISE

Email: Heloise@Heloise.com

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