Valentine's Day is here again, but unwary romantics beware ... you could end up losing more than your heart if you fall for a fraud.

Love emails ready to bite

Have you received a surprise email from a secret admirer with a special message of love attached just for you on Valentine's Day?  It may be an exciting thought, but be careful!  By opening that attachment, you may enable malicious software like spyware or key-loggers to be downloaded onto your computer allowing a scammer to spy on all your computer activity.

  • Delete suspicious emails and don’t open any files attached to them, no matter how curious you are.
  • Install software that protects your computer from viruses and unwanted programs and make sure it is kept up-to-date.

Romance in Cyber Land

Looking for that special Valentine online can result in more than just a broken heart if you aren't careful.

At this time of the year, online daters should be cautious. While internet dating sites can be fun, SCAMwatch hears many stories from people who have had their bank accounts drained by cunning overseas scammers.

Dating & romance scams try to lower your defences by appealing to your loving or compassionate side. After the scammer has melted your heart with glamorous photos or small gifts, your money will become the target of the scammer, not your affection. You might be asked to pay for medical treatment for the scammer's sick relative, or maybe you will be asked to pay for airfares to help them to escape their country. The sob stories are endless – don't be fooled.

  • Even if you believe the requests for money are genuine, check thoroughly before committing funds to anyone you don't really know.
  • Documents and photos can be fake – don't be taken in.
  • Never give anybody your bank account or very personal details.
  • Never agree to help someone transfer money out of their country - it could be a front for money laundering which is a crime.

Protect your heart from toxic love this Valentine's Day

Learn more about Dating & romance scams and other Internet scams.

To report a scam – visit the SCAMwatch Report a Scam page.

Back to the SCAMwatch radar.

Read more

Scammers use dating or friendship to get your money. They go to great lengths to convince you the relationship is real and manipulate you to give them money. Romance scammers will leave you broke and broken-hearted.