Beware Phony Romances, Fake Shopping Offers

Valentine’s Day is nearly here, and scams are reflecting that.

Lynette Owens is the global director of internet safety at Trend Micro, and says the number of scams related to romance and/or Valentine’s Day are up 20 percent over last year, due to the “double whammy” of people spending more time online and more time in isolation due to the pandemic. Owens says these scams often appeal to someone’s emotional needs, for example connecting through a dating app or social network—and usually will ask you for something, whether it be money or personal information. You should try and verify a person is legitimate before giving them any personal information, let alone any money.

The Better Business Bureau says other red flags include the person hurrying you off the dating site to engage via email or text; the person always finding a reason to not meet in person; and the person hinting about having a lot of bad luck stories in your first interactions. You should also be weary of phishing websites set up to look like legitimate websites. Overall: be weary of websites and search for them on Google before ordering from them, don’t share personal information, and watch out for fake password reset messages via email.  (