They say love is blind. And it seems that looking for love can make you blind. Gone are the days of love letters and personal ads. Today, lonely singles turn to meet-up sites and social media to date and even find true love. When fraudsters go online, however, they aren’t looking for love. It’s your personal information they’re after.

“Be My Valentine”

Scented love notes are also a thing of the past. They’ve been replaced by e-cards. These cards are a great way for fraudsters to gain access to personal information and install spyware on your computer. So, being able to tell a real card from a fake one is really important…You don’t want cupid’s arrow to miss its mark!

How to protect and minimize risks
  • Always check where the email comes from before opening it and make sure you recognize the sender’s address. Scam artists often use an impersonal mailing address, so don’t open any emails unless you know for sure who the sender is, otherwise you risk getting spyware installed on your computer.
  • Bad grammar and spelling errors could also point to a scam.
  • Try to open the card from the provider’s website. E-card providers usually give you that option.
  • E-card senders should never ask you to provide personal information in order to open the card, or use the card to collect information. If they do, don’t open it and don’t disclose any information without first making sure the request is legitimate.

International Marriage Scams

Some people look for their true love on foreign dating websites. Fraudsters are all too aware of this and know how to turn it to their advantage. They create fake profiles and once they’ve seduced you, they’ll ask for money to get out of their country so they can come and meet you. They usually require quite a bit of money, but since love is blind, you fall for it. You send your money, but your true love never shows up.

How to protect and minimize risks
  • Do a background check on the company or the person making you the offer. An online search will often reveal stories from people who’ve been swindled by similar scams.
  • Ask questions—fraudsters don’t like them. They’ll quickly sense your scepticism and usually let it drop.
  • If the love story sounds too good to be true, chances are it is.
  • Under no circumstances wire any money.
  • Never give your credit card number over the phone or the Internet unless you trust the recipient.

First Dates

First dates are exciting. But love at first sight can quickly turn into a nightmare if your date’s intentions turn out to be less than honourable. You’d probably be shocked if your date made advances the first time you met, but you probably wouldn’t think twice about revealing your date of birth, the names of your children or pet, or your mother’s maiden name. It’s every bit as important to protect your identity as it is to make sure that you are physically safe.

How to protect and minimize risks
  • Watch what you say. Don’t be too quick to confide and don’t disclose personal information.
  • Moderation is the name of the game. Fraudsters know only too well that drinks loosen the tongue.
  • Don’t leave your purse or wallet unattended.
  • If you end up inviting your date home, don’t leave personal papers within easy reach – keep them in a safe place.