CHOOSING ROMANCE: Think before you share online with people you really don't know.
CHOOSING ROMANCE: Think before you share online with people you really don't know.

Avoid the scammers this Valentine’s Day

BE WARY of getting caught in a dating or romance scam, particularly during tomorrow's Valentine's Day.

People who feel lonely and vulnerable on this day may be inclined to respond to an invitation to connect via social media to a person who showing warmth and understanding. But that invitation could be lead to costing you a lot of money and heartache

Women are more likely to be targeted and both and men and women aged 45 and over are particularly vulnerable.

"Social media has overtaken online dating sites as the most common way for dating and romance scammers to contact potential victims," ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said.

"Valentine's Day is just around the corner and while it's a happy day for many, for some it can be quite lonely and isolating. If you're going on social media, a dating site or app to find a potential Mr or Ms Right, it's important to keep your guard up to a scammer's advances."

The ACCC are recommending seniors follow these tips to protect themselves online from a dating and romance scammer -

  • Scammers create believable profiles to present themselves as an almost too good to be true 'catch'. Use a Google Image search to check if their profile picture is genuine.
  • If the person you are interested in says they are overseas, or can't meet you right now for any reason, be suspicious. Their excuse may sound reasonable but it is usually a lie.
  • Be careful when people profess strong feelings early on. Scammers want you to fall in love with them so they can abuse your trust and feelings to get money out of you.
  • Don't ever give money to someone you have only met online. Scammers spin sympathetic tales about why they need money but don't fall for it.
  • Don't share intimate photos or use webcams in an intimate setting. Scammers use these photos or webcam recordings to blackmail their victims.

For information on how to avoid dating and romance scams, go to Scamwatch.