Valentine’s Day is here. Romance and love are in the air. It’s also a good time to remind your patients to protect their hearts in a different way. It’s the time of year when we express our love and affection for one another. That may often be with gifts, cards, and romantic gestures. However, this time of year is also when romance scams are on the rise, and they can be dangerous. Being heart-healthy means taking the physical and mental or emotional aspects into consideration as well. Smart cybersecurity practices can help to protect you.
What are romance scams?
A romance scam is a type of fraud where the scammer poses as a potential love interest to gain the victim’s trust and steal their money or personal information. They often use online dating websites, social media, or other internet-based platforms to find and target their victims. The scammer will often pretend to be someone they’re not, using fake photos and identities to build a relationship with the victim.
Once the scammer has built a rapport with the victim, they may ask for money, claiming that they need it for various reasons such as travel costs, medical expenses, or other emergencies. The victim may feel that they have a solid emotional connection with the scammer and that they are helping someone in need. In reality, they are being taken advantage of.
How can you protect yourself from romance scams?
Remind your patients, that there are signs and scenarios which might indicate a possible scam. This is especially true around holidays that focus on love but the risk can be present year-round.
- Be cautious of anyone who contacts you out of the blue and asks for personal information, such as your Social Security number, bank account details, or other sensitive information.
- Never send money to someone you’ve only met online, no matter how convincing their story may be.
- Be wary of people who are always available to talk, but never seem to have time to meet in person.
- Do your research. Use online tools to check out the person’s background and verify their identity.
- Be skeptical of people who say they are living or working abroad and are unable to meet in person.
- Never feel pressured to provide information or make a decision quickly. Take your time and consider the situation carefully.
- If you are ever in doubt, trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
Yes, Valentine’s Day is a time for love and romance, but it’s also a time to be extra vigilant against scams. By being aware of the warning signs of a romance scam and taking steps to protect yourself, you can avoid becoming a victim. If you believe that you have been a victim of a romance scam, report it to the authorities immediately. Your health and well-being are important, and we want you to protect your heart year-round, in all ways!