Valentine’s Day may be a day of love and romance, but if you’re not careful, you could end up with more than just a broken heart!
Online romance scams see a big increase in numbers during this special occasion. Hackers are out to deceit gullible people looking for love into giving away their money or personal details. According to the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), “Romance scams occur when a criminal adopts a fake online identity to gain a victim’s affection and trust. The scammer then uses the illusion of a romantic or close relationship to manipulate and/or steal from the victim.”
Romance scams can be incredibly costly as well. A report from 2019 stated that victims in the US and Canada reported losing nearly USD 1 billion in the last three years due to romance scams! That’s a crazy amount, but it’s not difficult to understand why romance scams are so successful—unlike conventional scams, these scams operate on an emotional level where individuals are far more likely to take rash & irrational decisions.
So, if you suddenly see someone showing a lot of interest in you on an online dating site especially around Valentine’s Day, be careful! Stay vigilant and don’t get carried away. Here are a few important tips to keep in mind when encountering romance online:
Don’t provide too much information on your own
You just make a potential scammer’s job easier if you fill out your profile with all your personal information. Don’t ever provide details like your full address or other incriminating information. It’s very easy for scammers to create a profile of you from the data you share online and use it to target you or even impersonate you.
Carefully vet emails that promise a special Valentine’s Day gift or offer
Emails that take advantage of Valentine’s Day (or any other occasion) to promise you a special offer or gift should be carefully vetted. They could be phishing attempts trying to get you to click on suspicious links and provide information about yourself. You could be led to a malicious website that will download malware on your system(s).
If someone you’ve met is asking for too much information, block them and move on
Around this time, you might find random strangers messaging you and professing their attraction to you. They can be very convincing as they try and subtly persuade you into believing they are a great fit for a potential life partner. Don’t get taken in—it’s especially a warning sign if the person is moving too fast and is asking for financial benefits from you. Block them, report them to the platform and move on fast.
Be wary of the platforms you are joining
Before you join a dating website or any social media platform, carefully read through its terms and conditions and see what kind of data you have to give them. Stay away from sketchy applications or websites which you haven’t heard of much. Ignore any service which asks for money to provide some sort of special promotion.
Keep your systems protected
The best form of protection against online romance scams is to ensure your systems are protected. You can consider Quick Heal Total Security which is a complete solution for your desktop or laptop and explore Quick Heal Total Security for Android for securing your Android mobile device.