Be on the #lookout for #Valentine’s Day #scammers

PEOPLE looking for love on Valentine’s Day are being urged to be careful when connecting with strangers online after statistics revealed scammers are increasingly preying on vulnerable people on social media sites.

SA Police and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission are encouraging people to be extra careful about who they “friend” online on Wednesday.

ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said people may be particularly vulnerable to scammers on February 14.

“Social media has overtaken online dating sites as the most common way for dating and romance scammers to contact potential victims,” she said.

“While (Valentine’s Day is) 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.”

SA Police said there maybe an increase in scam activity this Valentine’s day and urged people to be on the lookout for potential scammers.

“Unfortunately investigators know that scammers seek to take advantage of people who may be feeling lonely or isolated, ultimately looking for money,” a spokesman said.

“Valentine’s Day can be a lonely time for many and may see an increase in scam activity, particularly romance and dating scams targeting those who are looking for love or companionship.”

ACCC figures showed people lost $9.7 million to dating and romance scams on social media in 2017 — an increase of almost 30 per cent compared to the previous year.

The statistics also revealed women lost nearly twice as much money as men and people aged 45 years and over were the most likely to be targeted.