Roses are red, violets are blue, Valentine's day scammers are looking for you...

For most people, Valentine ’s is a day of chocolates, roses, dinners out and spending time with their loved ones, but for the seedy world of cybercrime, it is a time when people are vulnerable and easy targets for scams.

Around this time “Scammers typically seek out individuals who are older than 50, either single or in difficult relationships, who are looking for romance,” says Manie Van Schalkwyk, head of the South African Fraud Prevention Service.

Some Valentine's Day Scams to Watch Out For

1. E-cards

E-cards, because sending physical cards is so 1990. E-cards are sent via email or social networks, they are easy ways for scammers to infect your computer with malware that gives them remote access to your files, online banking accounts, and passwords. Do not click on links in e-cards

2. Online dating scams

A terrible sweetheart swindle that can leave people broken hearted with empty pockets. Scammers set up profiles on dating sites using images found on google and woo the victim for months. Once these swindling Romeos know they have the victim in their clutches they ask for money, often to come for a face to face meeting. Let’s just say, it doesn’t end well and someone always ends up getting hurt.

3. Scammers using social media

Because everybody loves to know who their Celebrity Valentine’s is! Beware of Valentine’s Day’s teasers or apps that lead you to survey websites by accepting permissions to access your account are already generating commission for scammers or, depending on the information provided, put you at risk for identity theft.

4. Bogus gift websites

Posing as legitimate retailers, they sell counterfeit goods (or nothing at all) while collecting customers’ credit card information that can be fraudulently used.

5. Dodgy deals

Your inbox will be littered with emails, and your newsfeed full of ads offering specials and ‘once off deals’ to take advantage of this Valentine’s day. Just remember if it looks too good to be true, it probably is

How to Protect Yourself This Valentines

• Limit the amount of detail you share about yourself on social media.

• Never send money to strangers, if it seems like someone you know is asking you for financial help, call them to verify the details and confirm the legitimacy of the request.

• Watch out for ‘Scammer Grammar’. Often fraudulent profiles, ads or websites are littered with grammatical and spelling mistakes.

• Purchase gifts through reputable retailers only and always type in the URL yourself to avoid clicking on a link that takes you to a fraudulent site.

• Check links if they have been shortened, look suspicious, contain spelling errors or look like they could be a brand (but something makes you think twice). Use something like  https://safeweb.norton.com.