Is your online love interest a catfisher?

Is your online love interest a catfisher? »Play Video

How do you know if your online sweetheart is real, or a catfisher? There are signs that can help you tell the difference.

The Better Business Bureau and Portland police provided these tips:

Romance scammers often claim to be local, but are always away, supposedly on a business trip or similar journey. They will not want to meet in person.

They will fall in love very quickly, claim to be soul mates, and show a deep understanding and sensitivity to your needs. They may ask to marry you within a short time of starting the relationship.

Romance scammers often only want to communicate through email, instant messaging or other social media. They may talk only rarely by phone, and will often want to cut the call short.

They may ask for money or try to get your personal information.

Here are some ways you can protect yourself:

Ask to speak with your love interest by phone, video chat and in person.

Ask questions about the area where they claim to live. Do their answers sound as if they are reading from Wikipedia?

Research the names, phone numbers and pictures they provide. Do the area codes match the area codes where they claim to live? Could they be using someone else's pictures?

Do not wire money or sent explicit pictures.

The Better Business Bureau said victims lost $55 million in romance scams in 2012. Portland police said they receive reports of a couple of cases per month, but they believe the crime is under-reported because victims are embarrassed to tell someone about what happened.

If you think you are a victim of a romance scam, you can learn more here, and report the scam to the Federal Trade Commission.