This information was provided to us by the experts at McAfee.
Online romance scams are becoming more common—and more costly.
According to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the reported costs of online romance scams jumped 50% from 2019 to 2020, to the tune of $304 million. Between 2016 and 2020, the number of romance scam cases reported tripled.
And just like a bad ex, it’s safe to say romance scams are not worth the time or money. That’s why McAfee, a global leader in online safety, helps consumers protect their hearts (and wallets) from fraudulent scammers, especially around peak times such as Valentine’s Day.
To meet people safely online, especially through social media, McAfee shares three things you can do to limit your chances of getting caught up with a scammer.
Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and others give you the option of making your profile and posts visible to friends only. Choosing this setting keeps the broader internet from seeing what you’re doing, saying, and posting, which can help protect your privacy and give a romance scammer less information to exploit.
Be critical of the invitations you receive. Out-and-out strangers could be more than a romance scammer, they could be a fake account designed to gather information on users for purposes of cybercrime, or they can be an account designed to spread false information. There are plenty of them too.
Security software, such as McAfee Total Protection, can protect you from clicking on malicious links that a scammer may send you online, while also steering you clear of other threats like viruses, ransomware, and phishing attacks in general. It can look out for your personal information as well, by protecting your privacy and monitoring your email, SSN, bank accounts, credit cards, and other info that a scammer or identity thief may put to use.
Find more online protection tools in our roundup of the best anti-malware apps.