« Is there a better way to handle student loans? | Main | Is your job application being swallowed up by tracking software? »

January 31, 2022

Watch for the Valentine's Day scam that'll empty your wallet

We all know Valentine’s Day is a nonsense holiday, a venture in commercialism more egregious than even what Christmas has become by 2012.

Of course, it’s also a terrible punch in the gut for singles and widows each year, which is why this story is just that much nastier.

As if Valentine’s Day wasn’t rough enough, now the lonely have to watch out for scams designed to tug on both their heartstrings and purse strings.

And if you’re not careful, the prospect of romance might just leave you swindled this year.

Indeed, scammers – not a dumb group, it’s worth noting – know just what stretches of the calendar consumers are easiest to dupe; the winter holidays, when donations are the soup of the day, being the biggest time of the year for charity fraud.

*Bing: How to know a scam when you see it

So perhaps it should come as no surprise that a particularly ruthless con is going around in the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day.

According to the Los Angeles Times, this year’s scam du jour is called the “romance scam,” whereby criminals pose as would-be lovers through social media or on dating sites.

The fraudsters disguise themselves as willing partners looking for some Valentine’s Day love, and surely will have no problem catching a few lonely consumers in their web.

But then the con artists, after days or weeks of courting, ask for money so they can travel to meet their targets. Some fall for the trick, send cash and never see it again.

Of course, falling for a scam like this is dumb, but it’s entirely possible many will, which is why any security expert worth his salt advises you don’t send money over the web, under any circumstances, to anyone you don’t know.

(And keep an eye out for fishy links in your inbox, too. Those e-cards and online dating requests from people you don’t know? Those links might not be safe, you oughtta know.)

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



Post a comment


Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...