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Scammers target the lovelorn on Valentine’s Day

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HARTFORD -- Valentine’s Day is approaching, and while we’re all looking for love, scammers will be looking to target those hit by Cupid’s arrow.

“While we’re thinking about love, they’re thinking about ways to take our money,” said David Ryan Polgar, Chief Trust & Safety at Friendbase.

It’s so simple, but something we all need to be reminded of this time of year. Polgar says scammers will use your vulnerability around Valentine’s Day to make you a victim.

“A common one would be fake flowers. So you might get a phone call and it’s from a florist saying ‘Hey would you like to send these flowers to your significant other?’ That’s something, you have this relationship. If you don’t know that service, or even if you do, because it’s easy to find that information, you want to verify that,” he said.

He says you never want to commit to something without verifying it first, and if someone is asking for payment, use a credit card instead of a debit card. Another thing to watch out for is phony emails.

“It’s giving somebody a link, and then unfortunately they click on it. To make matters worse, often times spyware is going to work by harvesting people’s emails. So it might actually be received by someone you know,” said Polgar.

If the language looks strange or you weren’t expecting to hear from that friend, Polgar says don’t click anything!

Hartford Police Detective Kimberly Borkowski adds to that. She says watch out for fraudulent e-cards and emails requesting information.

“If you get an email saying that you have a delivery coming to you or they are trying to confirm the delivery that you sent, sometimes they’ll ask to confirm your credit card number in the email, don’t do that,” said Borkowski.

She says it’s best to go to the original source to confirm delivery and use reputable businesses to make purchases in the first place.

“When making purchases online, make sure you are going to a reputable source. You can check the Better Business Bureau or just name recognition, and make sure you are going to a site that starts with https for secure,” said Borkowski.

The Bottom line is to keep your guard up no matter what the time of year.

“It’s pretty easy to be a victim if you’re not paying attention and you’re thinking with your heart more than your brain,” said Borkowski.

One other thing to watch out for relates to online dating. Borkowski says when you are looking for love online, make sure the person you are talking to is the person you think he or she is. She adds you should never give out personal information or financial information.

To report scams, call your local police department or visit the FBI’s website.

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