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03 Feb 2015
Your perfect Valentine may be a romance scammer

Valentine’s Day is coming up and that means an uptick of activity for dating websites, with a peak in the number of people looking for new partner. And like the Christmas period, it’s hunting season for romance scammers who go online pretending to be the perfect male or female partner. In reality, they’re just after one thing: your money.

These scammers will also turn to social media to take advantage of lonely people. So think twice before you fall for their charms. Here are a couple of tips for you.

Be careful: don’t be too trustful, follow your intuition.

Guard your privacy: make sure you don’t reveal too much personal information on Facebook or other social network sites.

Money: don’t send money to people you’ve never met. Scammers will try every trick in the book to get to your money; they need it to buy a plane ticket or an ill family member. Don’t fall for this. Certainly, don’t pay through wire transfers such as Western Union and Moneygram, which are difficult to trace and are often used by criminals.

Contact: if you’re a registered member of a dating site, then use that site for all your communication with your potential new partner. Don’t contact your date through personal email or a social network site.

Foreign countries: Don’t respond to people who’re evidently writing from abroad. Remember that scammers will often tell you they’re in the same country as you when they are not.

Warning signs
There are a number of signs that may help you find out whether your new online partner is only interested in your money.  

Your ‘new lover’
– urges you to leave the dating site and communicate through personal email or a chat programme instead.
– is quick to express his/her warm feelings for you .
– sends a picture of himself/herself that looks like it’s from a magazine.
– pretends to be a US national on a temporary assignment abroad.
– promises to visit you, but never manages because of a tragic event or accident.
– will ask you for money to buy a ticket or cover expenses for medical emergencies, hospital bills for a child or other relative, hotel bills, visa or other official documents.

Do you think you may be dealing with a romance scammer? If so, please break off all contact and let us know.