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As Valentine's Day approaches do not fall victim to a romance scam. Love should not cost a thing.
What is a romance scam?
A romance scam is when a scammer creates a fake online identity and creates an illusion of a romantic relationship to gain a victim's affection and trust and then uses that goodwill to manipulate and/or steal from the victim.
Signs to look for in a romance scam
The scammer takes the conversation offsite too soon and moves to email or Hangouts.
Over the top affection and immediate intimacy, declares they love you immediately.
Scammers say that they work for the military, a doctor, oil-rig worker or a construction worker and are currently working outside the U.S.
They are unable to talk on the phone or have a computer-generated voice.
Never get to meet in person or video chat.
Scammers will ask you for money, usually by asking you to purchase a gift card and giving them the pin or to do a wire transfer.
Scammers may ask you to receive and resend money on their behalf. This is not only a scam, but they are using you to move or launder money
Someone contacts you on Facebook Messenger or other social media site, when you are not on any dating sites, and invites you into a relationship
Tips to Reduce Risk
NEVER give someone you haven't met in person your bank account information or only communicated with online or by phone.
Beware if you are asked to send inappropriate photos, these could later be used to extort you.
Limit personal info on social media, craft a profile that does not give away too much information
Research the individual's profile and picture using Google Image (or other program) searches to see if it has been used elsewhere.
Check out everyone, ask lots of questions, Do not leave the site.
If you believe that you or someone you know may be involved in a romance scam, stop all communication with the individual and file a report to a CBI Victim Advocate.
As the Nation responds to the COVID-19 pandemic, the scammers are upping their game, and taking advantage of the situation to steal your money and your personal information.
Here are some COVID-19 related scams that the experts predict you will see.
REMEMBER: The best way to combat the scammers is with KNOWLEDGE!
Please share these warnings with people you know who might be at risk of falling for one of these scams.
Cures, Prevention & Treatments: As you might guess, there are a lot of fake products out there that you can order online and pay a lot to receive. Each one claims to be the “secret cure”! These scammers play off of fear and a desire to get healthy or stay healthy.
There may be some articles you find online with information about ways to stay healthy and improve your immune response, but these sites will not offer expensive miracle cures, just time tested advice.
Contact your medical professional. If you are tempted to try a product, check in with your health care provider first. Not only could they steer you away from scams, but will also be in the best position to let you know if any ingredients in these products is dangerous to you given your health conditions and medications.
Stimulus Dollars: With the federal government promising money to many Americans to help us make it through, the scammers could see this as their big payday!
Anyone contacting you and saying they can get you your money faster, get you more money, or help you get your money, is a scammer! The government will let us all know how and when those dollars will be distributed. And it will NOT come with a fee. Anyone asking for a fee is a scammer!
You will not be contacted by a government agency asking you for your personal information, such as your social security number, or for your bank account information. These are scams!
Work From Home Scams: This would be a great time for a work from home job, especially if you are one of the many who are temporarily out of a job.
If the job offer seems too good to be true—it is!
Anyone who wants to send you a check and have you cash it and distribute the funds, wire the funds or make purchases with the funds is a scammer!
Check out any business offering home based job opportunities with your local Secretary of State and with the BBB. Do your research before you even consider applying for a position.
You do not have to pay to work from home. Anyone asking you for money upfront is scamming you.
Medical Supplies Scams: Many scammers will post notices that they can get you
coveted medical supplies like face masks and hand sanitizer. Don’t believe it!
These items are in short supply right now. Anyone promising you a secret stash of supplies is scamming you!
Here are some resources for you:
The Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) will keep you posted on the most recent scams on our Facebook page. Please visit us: https://www.facebook.com/CBI.IDTheft/
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) has some guidelines to help keep your kids safe during school closures. Here is a message from them. For more information, visit their website: https://www.missingkids.org/
For parents: with many students home because of school closures, we thought it would be helpful to send you some tips and fun activities to do with your kids to make sure they stay safe online.
Watch Into the Cloud episodes with your kids: They are binge-able, age appropriate videos that include activities to help teach children to be safer online. Into the Cloud will help them become more aware of potential risks and more empowered to help prevent victimization by making safer choices online and offline.
Read our blog: There are several good posts about keeping kids safe online.
Follow us on social media: for latest updates on how to protect children.