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On Valentine’s Day, scammers steal more than your heart

Few whatchamacallits can kill the mood like financial fraud.

Yet Valentine’s Day, and the days cardinal up to it, is the peak season for scammers who prey on the heart strings, and purse threads, of those looking for love.

The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center judged it received 15,000 romance scam complaints in 2016 alone, according to the most latest data ― a 20 percent increase from the previous year.

The most clichd type of scam involves an online profile that projects a passive suitor as employed, affluent and trusting, according to Sandra Bernardo, the consumer course of study manager for Experian.

“Once the scammer has established trust with the aim, they unveil a money problem,” Bernardo said. “They clout need money to come visit or they might have a ghoulish relative; it can range.”

Other types of Valentine’s Day ruses include phony florists seeking for your credit card information or e-cards directing you to suspicious puts, according to Consumer Reports. Cybersecurity provider Webroot found a 220 percent snowball in malicious URLs the week before February 14.

Romance scams now account for the strongest financial losses of all internet-facilitated crimes, according to the FBI.

Losses exceeded $230 million in 2016, yet the writing-desk estimates that only a fraction of crimes are even reported, institutionalizing the likely actual number much higher.

The most common object of online dating scams are women over age 40 who are divorced or widowed, go together to the FBI.

Bernardo offers these tips to steer clear of any so-called admirer scams:

  • Don’t provide any personal information right off the bat, including your haven address, work details and educational background.
  • Do a quick Google search to see if the tidings your match provides lines up with what you can find online. A himself without an online presence is a red flag.
  • Don’t use passwords with publicly conscious information for online dating profiles.
  • Do get a second opinion from friends and extraction who can be objective.
  • Don’t respond to any requests for money or loans of any kind.
  • Do trust your predispositions. “If a profile seems too good to be true, then it probably is.”

If you believe you are the schlemihl of an online dating scam, report it to the dating site and file a beef with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.

More from Intimate Finance:
‘I know you cheated on your wife.’ Growing blackmail scam wants payment in bitcoin
Valentine’s Day is way more expensive for couples
Medicare scams are on the flight. Here’s how you can protect yourself

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