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There's no such thing as love!

Quite an ironic title for arguably the international day most known for celebrating love and expressions of love, right? Maybe. But, when you're engaging in trade or any sort of business, I urge you, please treat L-O-V-E as one of the conventionally obscene four-letter words.

You see, while not exclusively occurring at this time of year, but particularly at this time of year, scam artistes, con men and con women, as well as fraudsters, are on heightened prowl for who they may communicate with, charm, and ultimately conquer. Don't fall for their tricks! Here are some examples below as to what a trick might look like coming from any of these folks and what to do:

1. The love scam- This is the one where a strange message appears in your email, or on your phone. You might even see a profile photo of a normal, 'decent-looking' person, and decide that, they're not much of a threat because they don't 'look' dangerous. These expert fraudsters will have you believing that they are innocent and well-intentioned, caring, supportive and credible. They're not. Once they've gained your trust, they will profess their L-O-V-E for you. Sadly, in many cases, this lure is taken hook, line and sinker. Once the scammer has you convinced that they L-O-V-E you as much as you love them, a request/s for money usually follows, which once given, never comes back.

What to do: Ignore their message then, immediately afterward, delete, block and otherwise mark their messages as spam. Also, don't share your pictures or personal information, especially your financial information like credit card accounts and banking information with anyone online.

2. Phishing for love and fake online shopping- Beware of these sites! They might offer a fantastic deal on romantic cruises, hotel accommodation and other romantic ideas on L-O-V-E. Talented fraudsters target their victims by sending these alluring emails that direct their users to a fake website, that can be done so professionally that, they resemble legitimate websites. If any sort of business is conducted through such websites, by typing in your personal information then, you have effectively done just as the fraudsters desired. You only realize that you've been duped if your bank recognizes a suspicious transaction and contacts you.

What to do: Trust your gut instinct. If it sounds too good to be true, (and especially where you are being asked to conduct a wire transfer or give out your credit card password), then, it probably is. In such a case, hold onto your hard-earned money and opt to shop elsewhere. Delete, block and spam any such messages in the future.

3. Love of money and charity- Fraudsters try to play you in two ways using this particular ploy. On one hand, if you're struggling financially, they will appeal to your sense of need (not necessarily greed), and convince you that, you can earn X or Y sums of money with them- once you provide them with your personal details. Some of the scams along this line, also include the 'winning lottery' scams where you've 'won' money, but, still need to send money to get that money. On the other hand, if your Achilles heel is to help as many disadvantaged people and animals the world over, these professional deceivers will use that sense of genuine altruism to their sole advantage. They might message or even call you directly, with a plea to help a sick child, or a chance to help languishing animals.

What to do: Only give your hard-earned money to bonafide charities in person, especially where you've never conducted business with a particular charity before or have no direct means of making inquiries as to their operations and getting tangible, informed feedback that can be independently verified. Delete, block and spam such emails and calls in the future.

Love is great, L-O-V-E on the other hand isn't. Know the difference.


LinkedIn Local Caribbean, love, fraud, scam, personal information

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