Many institutions have alerted the public about typical scams, especially romance scams, as Valentine's Day draws near.
The South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC) warned that romance fraudsters usually develop profiles that match the demands of the people they are targeting in order to quickly establish confidence with their gullible victims.
The centre says you may greatly lower your chance of being a victim of romance scams by being informed and taking some protective steps.
Too Good to Be True
Be wary of profiles that appear to be overly ideal or that exactly fit your dreams. Scammers frequently create intriguing identities to lure victims.
Exercise caution if the relationship moves too quickly, with professions of love or promises of a future within a short time.
They aim to establish trust quickly and use this trust to trick victims into giving them money or confidential information that scammers then use to steal a victim’s money.
Conduct thorough research
Before committing to an online relationship, take the time to verify the identity of the person you are interacting with. Search their name, photos, or any other information they provide to see if it matches up or if it has been associated with any scam reports.
Guard your personal information
It is advised to never give out personal information, such as your address, financial details, ID, or passport number, to someone you meet online. Scammers could use this information to commit identity theft or obtain unauthorised access to your accounts.
Use secure platforms
It is also essential to stick with trustworthy and authentic dating sites or social media platforms that promote user safety. These sites frequently have safety features or helplines in place to monitor and remove dubious profiles.
Seek advice from trusted people
Speak to friends, family, or even professionals if you have any doubts or concerns about the authenticity of an online relationship. Their external perspective can provide valuable insight and help you make informed decisions. If you have been scammed, there is a greater chance of you being targeted again.
Practice online safety when shopping for love interests
Scammers may also advertise specials via internet browsers such as Google or Edge or social media (Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp) to fool you into visiting the fake online store.