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Don't Fall for Romance Scams
As part of an ongoing effort to combat cybercrimes and online financial fraud, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) launched an awareness campaign on Valentine’s Day to educate the public on dangers associated with online romance scams and how individuals can protect themselves and loved ones. The HSI warns that many criminal organizations use legitimate dating apps to target recently widowed or divorced seniors.
HSI offered tips to avoid losing money to a romance scam:
- Protect yourself and older loved ones by raising awareness among your family and friends. The more you know about these scams, the better prepared you are to prevent being a victim.
- Check in on older loved ones. Scammers are seeking to target those living alone or grieving the loss of a spouse as they are more vulnerable.
- Limit what you share online. Scammers can use details shared on social media and dating sites to better understand and target you.
- Do your research. Research the individual’s photo and profile using online searches to see if the image, name, or other details have been used elsewhere.
- Go slowly and plenty of questions. Do not let the individual rush you to leave a dating service or social media site to communicate directly.
- Listen to your gut. If the individual seems too good to be true, talk to someone you trust.
- Do not overshare personal information. Requests for inappropriate photos or financial information could later be used to extort you.
- Be suspicious if you have not met in person. If the individual promises to meet in person, but consistently comes up with an excuse for cancelling, be suspicious.
- Do not send money. Never send money to anyone you have only communicated with online or by phone.