With the prevalence of social media and online dating sites booming, romantics should keep in mind that cupid isn’t the only one after their heart.
Romance scammers use social media and dating platforms to create con accounts that leave victims broke and brokenhearted.
Cybercriminals create fake personas using images of attractive people to start communicating with their targets. They court individuals, coming across as genuine and caring. Then once they gain their victims’ trust, they ask for money with made-up stories, usually incorporating sick family members or dire financial troubles.
So, consumers can protect their data, finances and heart from bad romance, Texas-based Amegy Bank recommends the following tips and tricks for looking lovers:
- Be cautious with what is posted online. Scammers use information found on social media and dating sites to target their victims and gain their trust or affection.
- Research the person’s photo, name and profile using online search tools to confirm if the image, name or details have been used elsewhere.
- Pump the breaks. Beware if the individual seems “too perfect” or immediately asks to leave a dating or social media site to communicate directly from your personal device.
- Be cautious of anyone who requests inappropriate photos or information that could later be used to extort.
- Be weary of anyone who promises to meet in person but always has an excuse for why they cannot meet.
- Never send money, trade or invest per the advice of someone you met online.
- Do not disclose your current financial status or provide banking information, Social Security number, copies of your identification or passport, or any other sensitive information to anyone. Never share these details on a site you cannot confirm is legitimate either.
- Finally, trust your gut. If something seems fishy, or too overly personal too soon, it probably is.