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Is your online love match real? Watch out for romance scams this Valentine's Day

A cyber security expert weighs in, explaining scammers have gotten creative during this pandemic to steal your information.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Love is in the air and out in cyberspace; it is 2021 after all. 

If you're looking for a significant-other in the age of COVID, you know it's not easy.

For many of us, we've relied heavily on virtual dating.

"People aren't going to bars to meet people. So much of our social life has been moving online for years, but now {virtual} it's all we have," said cyber security expert Alex Hamerstone. 

With apps like Tinder, Bumble, even Farmer's Only, you have plenty of places to find love, and plenty of places to share your private information.

Hamerstone said, "Of course around Valentine's day, we will hear a lot more about these romance scams."

He says everyone should be on the lookout for them.

A romance scam is when a person creates a fake online identity to earn your affection and trust, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. 

Remember that Arabian prince who reached out to you asking for your bank information so he could pay all your bills?

Wouldn't that be nice?

"No matter how many frogs you kiss, you're probably not going to get that prince reaching out to you through email offering a fortune," Hamerstone said. 

Here's how to avoid a scam

If it appears too good to be true, it probably is.

Crooks like that Arabian prince want information like your address, bank account, routing number to steal your money or identity. 

If the person you've matched with online tries to isolate you from your family, that's a red flag. 

Also, be mindful of what you post and make public online.

The more info you have available, the more info scammers have for the taking.

Remember: it's nothing to be ashamed of if it has happened to you.

If you think you are a victim of a scam, call police.

RELATED: BBB Warns About Online Romance Scams Ahead Of Valentine’s Day

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