With Valentine’s Day approaching, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has told US citizens to be aware of romance scams.
In the days up to Valentine’s Day, threat actors are taking advantage of those looking for love online by exploiting their trust and conning them out of their money.
In the warning, the FBI explained that Valentine’s day can lead to financial loss, in which “well-rehearsed criminals search dating sites, apps, chat rooms, and other social media networking sites attempting to build ‘relationships’” with the sole purpose of getting the victim’s money or personally identifiable information.
To avoid becoming victims of such scams, the FBI has set out guidelines, such as only using reputable and nationally-recognised dating websites, whilst being aware that scammers may be using them too.
Users are encouraged to use online search tools to research photos and profiles, in addition to asking questions.
In no circumstance should users ever provide their financial information, loan money, or allow their bank accounts to be used for transfers of funds.
“Do not blindly believe the stories of severe life circumstances, tragedies, family deaths, injuries, or other hardships geared at keeping your interest and concern,” wrote the FBI.
Users wanting to meet someone in person who they met online, should do so publicly, and ensure someone knows where they are going and when they will be returning home.
“Victims may be hesitant to report being taken advantage of due to embarrassment, shame or humiliation. It’s important to remember, romance scams can happen to anyone at any time.”