Online dating is a great way to meet people in an interconnected world led by the Internet. You might not have ever met these people in your normal day-to-day life, and are afforded a great experience. Though it has helped us a lot in some aspects, online dating can lead to problems we haven’t been able to imagine, that involve identify theft and losing our personal privacy if we’re not careful.
Identity Safety on Online Dating Sites
It is important to be safe when you’re online. In one way or the other you are sharing information about yourself, sometimes it may be more than you’d like, other times minimal information can get out there. You must be wary when online. The simple adage is a sound argument, if things seem too good to be true, then they most likely are. If a person is exactly how you’d like them to be with exact interests and looks absolutely perfect, think twice.
When something like this happens you may be in the cross hairs of a scammer or someone who’s going to be taking advantage of you. Be careful the places you log into, especially if you’re in the vicinity of a public place. Dating networks are similar to other types of social media networks. You’ll always want to take the same precautions you would logging in and out of any website.
More than 40 million Americans use some kind of online dating system. It’s again, a great place to meet people. But with this many people spread across the globe, scammers will find their niche in order to take advantage of unsuspecting users, You don’t want to be one of those people.
Methods of Identity Theft
One of the most prevalent ways of stealing information is through creating something called a bait profile. Other terms have been assigned to this concept, such as cat fishing. These people are luring unsuspecting people and making them victims. The information on these profiles will mostly be untrue or completely fabricated.
The person you may be speaking with could be in a relationship or have never really even logged on in months. Many different paid dating sites or trial membership sites are frequent culprits of this kind of scamming. These sites can either be fraudulent themselves and part of the scam or just unknowingly allowing scammers to inhabit their site.
Always make sure to read the terms before any site asks for a credit card and check out the conditions on the trial of the subscription. There is a possibility that you’ll become a full-fledged paying customer and subscriber without even realizing it.
Poor Privacy Practices
Many of these Internet dating scams are able to occur because websites will not do a background check on their clients, even if they state they will. This can be done through something like Facebook or cell phone verification. Think twice before paying for a site, as many current dating sites are set free with additional offers for a price.
Sites that are not maintained become breeding grounds for the worst of people, which includes scammers, predatory people and cheaters. Be wary of any emails coming from different countries or locations not near you. Many of these scams are easy to perpetuate because of long distances. Think twice before falling in love with that so called Nigerian Prince thousands of miles away.
These people may be in the business of scamming folks out of their money and not looking for love online. If you send anything, even once they know that they’ve got you and your potential identity or future funds.
There are valid ways to exercise caution when you do decide to share information to somebody you’ve never met in person. Be aware that dating sites are a number one source of interacting with strangers so they can come up with and implement a multitude of scamming or phishing plans. Here are some tips to make you less vulnerable.
- Do not give out any personal information. If someone wants your address for any reason, sending a gift, meeting up, make sure to not go through with this under any circumstance. Information like your phone number, address, and Social Security can be used to steal your identity. Where you work and what you do, can help create a file on you.
- Healthy Skepticism goes a long way. If someone is moving too quickly, the red flags should be raised. You should spend a long amount of time before divulging personal feelings or wanting to be with someone. Think before you ever meet up with them and make sure to do your diligent research to figure out if they’re normal and actual real people.
- Never under any circumstances send anyone money that you’ve met online. Even if you’ve been talking to one another for months together, that is no reason to trust someone online through an anonymous barrier. Scammers will make anything sound real. If they say they’ll pay half, well guess what you’re not ever seeing your half again. They can use your personal information to take advantage of your bank account and drain funds.
Staying Safe Online
Not everyone out there is a scammer out to get you. There are many people you’ll meet through an online medium that will enrich your life and change it for the better. But for every few nice and great people out there, thieves wait in the shadow, always bettering their scams and tactics.
Identity thieves will use their victim’s identity for financial gain and leave the victim a ruined mess who has been taken advantage due to identity fraud. Overall, they do this through posing as other people, phishing for your information through emails and key loggers that can steal your information. Once they’ve gained any bit of trust from you is when they are at their strongest.
Keeping up with privacy concerns and exercising caution at every turn will allow for you to traverse the online dating sphere in peace.