How to detect and avoid romance scams

Don't let yourself end up in a vulnerable position

How to Avoid and Detect Romance Scams

Dating sites are not just a place to find love, they can also be where scammers are finding their next victims.

It's not just dating sites either, the Wall Street Journal reports that social media networks like Facebook are battling users who steal other people's photos for their own use.

Facebook says it is currently testing a process for alerting users when other accounts have the same profile and name.

The company have also said that people shouldn't accept suspicious friend requests because that's how some scammers access their victims.

Here's how you can protect yourself from social scams:

1. Reverse image search

This is how you can find out if one of the pictures is appearing somewhere else. Download and save the photo and then upload it to Google's image search engine, the results will show where that photo has shown up before on web pages.

2. Check with your parents

Elderly people who feel isolated may welcome a friendly voice at the end of the phone but they can be especially vulnerable to scammers. Be alert to changes in behaviour and keep your eye out for any potential signs of a scam.

3. Watch for high pressure emergencies

Scammers will manufacture emergencies, such as a bad car accident or trouble overseas as a way to ask for money.

4. Don't share personal information

Don't send any of your personal details to anybody that you haven't met in person. In particular don't send any money electronically, because it is nearly impossible to recover the money should something go wrong.

5. Don't accept money from strangers

Scammers may ask you to hold money and then transfer it to someone else at a later date - which is a form of money laundering.

6. Don't be afraid to report fraud

Contact the police, bank and credit card companies and make sure you document the crime and always check for suspicious activity on credit reports and bank statements.

Victims of scams and fraud

Victims of scams and fraud