It’s that time of year again. You know, that special time when you go out with your friends and family to celebrate love, life, and all things Valentine’s Day. While there are plenty of meaningful aspects of the holiday, there are also romance scams that aim to take advantage of your affectionate distractions.
That’s right; scammers will use multiple tactics to access accounts and steal money. In 2021, romance scams frauded Americans out of more than one billion dollars! Sadly, the figure continues to increase each year.
To help you protect your accounts, we listed our best tips below. Continue reading to learn how to defend yourself against Valentine’s Day trickery.
1. Keep your passwords secret
Regardless of how much you swoon over your significant other, keep your passwords secret from love interests. You’ll also want to avoid using personal information in your passwords, like birthdays, since they are easily guessed.
2. Take your relationship slow
In regards to finances and data sharing, take your relationship slow. You’ll have less risk if you don’t divulge too much. Most connections happen naturally over topics other than money and assets. If the person seems interested in only your accounts and financial activities, it may be time to cut ties.
3. DO NOT click on links from unsolicited emails
If an email comes from someone you don’t know and asks for money or personal information, make sure not to click on any links. Scammers often use phishing emails to trick people into giving away sensitive information like passwords or credit card numbers. These emails often link to fake websites that operate solely to steal your data.
4. Use Two-Factor Authentication
Set up two-factor authentication (2FA) for each social media account. 2FA is a method of confirming your identity when you sign into an account. It requires a user to have the proper credentials and a physical item that is not shared (like a phone or alternate device). Because the process mandates both items, it makes it harder for someone else to break into your account. If you start receiving a significant number of log-in attempts after meeting your new romance, something may be up.
5. Set up account notifications
Account alerts will notify you of any significant activity to your account. It is essential to know in real time about withdrawals, address or phone number changes, or balance transfers. While this is more of a reactive step, it still reduces the damage from undetected fraudulent activity on your account.
Signs of romance scams:
- The scammer is quick to call it “love”
- Their social media profile contains vague or very few images
- The scammer asks for any amount of money
- They won’t let you see them in person
- They don’t have a steady job
- There seem to be frequent gaps in communication
- The scammer routinely has emergencies that interfere with relationship progress
Ultimately, it’s best to be cautious and use your common sense. Always protect yourself against scams by never giving out your financial information unless you understand the reason first. Members, if you notice any suspicious activity on your account, do not hesitate to contact our toll-free service center at 800-593-2274. We’ll help you report the fraud and provide assistance in restoring your accounts.
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