Love is in the air, as Valentine’s Day is just a matter of days away. However, love might not be all around for people trying to use the day for their own fraudulent gain.
Romance scams have been a common occurrence with the constant use of online messaging and dating. According to the Federal Trade Commission, in 2022, nearly 70,000 people in the U.S. reported a romance scam and reported losses that hit a staggering $1.3 billion.
The team at SOAX.comhas given advice on the various ways you can avoid a romance scam this Valentine’s Day, so you can still celebrate the day with love.
Spelling mistakes or inconsistencies
Poorly worded texts or emails with multiple misspellings, awkward syntax and grammatical errors are usually an indication of a scam.
Any legitimate message from a company would have been proofread and should be easy to read.
An urgent tone or message that requests immediate action
A scam message often prompts recipients to act instantly and has a tone that implies emergency action is required.
This is to play on the emotions of the person receiving the message and encourage them to take action and respond.
A company rarely has a very urgent request that requires immediate action, especially if it involves a financial transaction. You should always check who is making the request. Even if it comes across as someone you know, check the profile and contact them alternatively as their account could have been compromised.
Asking for sensitive information
Email, text and phone scams often ask for some form of sensitive information, whether it’s financial information like bank details, or login passwords and secret answers to security questions on various personal accounts.
Companies only ask for login details in their login system on their website, and they will likely never ask for them in a cold call or email.
Check the profile
If a person you’re talking to raises suspicions of being a scammer, then check the profile. Scammers will use fake pictures of somebody else, and a good rule of thumb is to check the age of the profile.
If the profile is brand new and the only posts and content are from recent days and weeks, then it’s likely the profile is a scammer.
Have a look at alternative social media platforms such as Facebook or LinkedIn to see if you can find out that this person is real, but you still shouldn’t trust what they say if you’re not convinced.
Look at the email address or phone number
A standout way to spot a scam email is if the email refers to the receiver by email address, for example, “dear [email protected].” Also look out for inconsistencies in the names in email addresses, for example, a different name from who they’ve said they are in the email.
If you get a message from a phone number that is unknown or a message that claims to be from a business despite coming from a mobile number, then this is likely a scam and you should block the number.
Scam emails and texts will often address the receiver in a way that might appear strange or uncommon.
This could be through vague forms of addressing the victim — through names like Sir, Madam, Miss or Mr. — because they either don’t have the recipient’s personal information or wanted to copy and paste the message to multiple people.
Do not click on any links
With so many scam emails and texts slipping through the net and onto recipients’ smartphones and inboxes, those receiving them must never click on any links inside the message.
That’s because these links can open and download malware onto the device, which can not only steal personal information but also slow down the device.
If you receive a link from an unknown account, always check the URL and who sent it before opening anything. If you’re suspicious, take the link to a platform like URLVoid.com; this will tell you if the link is safe to click.