Avoid falling victim to romance scams this #Valentine’s Day

JOBURG – Managing director of IT security company KnowB4 Africa, Anna Collard offers some safety tips to protect you from romance scams.

In today’s world, many have taken to online dating to find that special someone, however, dating apps nowadays not only attract lonely hearts but scammers as well.

Many victims of cat phishing end up losing substantial sums of money, sometimes their entire life-savings.

Anna Collard, managing director of IT security company KnowB4 Africa, offered the following tips to help you to spot a romance scam:

  • The scammer is model beautiful: If every picture looks like it came from a fashion magazine, it probably has. If they have only one profile pic, swipe left.
  • The victim has never met them in person: The key to most romance scams is that the victim and the date have never met in person, or if they did, they didn’t look anything like the beautiful person in the photograph.
  • Initial contact comes from the scammer: Not only are the ‘dates’ super beautiful but they make most of the initial overtures. They contact the victim first and respond very quickly and aggressively.
  • The scammer falls in love too fast: How long should it be before the other person says ‘I love you’ on a dating site? It’s probably longer than a few days or a few emails.
  • Email address doesn’t match the name: Be wary if their email address doesn’t come close to matching their claimed name. If, for example, their claimed name is Katrina Korkova, but their email address is, run away.
  • Money, money, money: Warning bells should go off if they need money to put off some horrible event, to visit you to share their incredible love, for a sick relative, for a visa, for travel plans, etc.

Collard advised people to always ask for an updated picture; use search engines to do image and text searches, and put in any keywords to narrow down their search. Lastly, confront the victim with the evidence.

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