PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. For most people, it’s a day to express their love and affection for significant others. But for scammers, it’s a chance to take advantage of people searching for love online.
“Maybe there’s somebody who gets nude in front of a camera and maybe doesn’t show their face, and they ask you to do the same thing,” said David McClellan of the website Social Catfish.
“What happens is, if you do the same thing, they take a picture and then they send you a screenshot of your friends list. And they ask you for $500, or they’re going to send the picture to your friends list or your family.”
There’s also a Valentine’s Day twist on phishing scams.
“You’ll be online,” explained McClellan. “You’ll get an email and it looks like a Valentine’s Day card from a significant other. You open it up, you click on the link, and they steal your information.”
So how can people avoid being victims of these scams? McClellan said the first thing to remember is quite simple: if someone asks you for money online, don’t give it to them.
“If anybody tries to ask you for your personal information online, don’t do it. If somebody says they’re in the military or they say they’re a contractor or engineer overseas and they’re meeting you, and their English seems broken, those are always red flags,” he warned.
“One thing we tell people all the time,” he said, “everybody we talk to that’s been scammed had a gut feeling that something wasn’t right. So we always tell people to listen to that sixth sense.”