Online Love Interests: When You Need to Protect Your Identity

Online dating is also rife with scammers looking to take your money. Protect yourself while finding a date this Valentine’s Season.  Protect yourself with these online dating identity protection tips!

Online dating has been around for decades, but it’s really taken off in recent years. We can thank the mobile era for that. Many of today’s best dating apps have seen exponential growth in online activity and revenue as more and more singles seek fast connections. According to Statistic Brain, about 49 million singles having dabbled in online dating at least once. Of course online love comes with its own set of challenges, and according to the FTC, online dating is also rife with scammers looking to take your money. Here’s what you can do to protect yourself.

Choose With Caution

It is estimated that there are approximately 5,000 online dating sites worldwide. The first thing you’ll want to check is if the website is a reputable site. Conduct Internet searches in order to find out how many members are subscribed, read reviews that may include both good and bad experiences from the site.

Why So Personal?

Most dating sites will store more personal information about you than other websites do. These sites will often ask you to list the city you live in, your date of birth, marital status, gender, and even more detailed information, such as if you own pets or have children. It may seem rather invasive, but it helps the site match you with people in your area and help you narrow down criteria in member searches. It’s a necessary evil of online dating, but proceed carefully and consider making your profile private.

How Scams Can Happen

Two thirds of dating scams originate on dating sites, so if you are using the web to find love, you need to look for tell-tale signs when communicating online:

  • They refuse or avoid efforts to communicate on the phone or in person.
  • They don’t give away much personal information, instead preferring to ask you questions.
  • They ask for money, claiming it’s urgently needed for medical expenses for themselves or a close family member, to pay for a flight home if they claim to be in the military, for a business deal or for a charity.
  • They ask for bank details, claiming to have money in a foreign bank account they need to transfer.
  • They want to chat away from the website or app you met on, via email or text.
  • They request intimate photographs of you.
  • Their language becomes aggressive when they ask for personal information.
  • They claim to work abroad, often in the military.
  • They quickly claim to be in love with you.
  • They are online sporadically.
  • Pay attention to the person’s profile picture. Does it look too perfect, and could it be fake?

Remember, never transfer money or give out financial details, this includes your account number, card details and online banking information. When using a dating website, conceal personal information, such as where you work and your phone number.  Only share this sort of information when you know someone well. If the person you are communicating with puts pressure on you at all, whether it’s  for financial information or forces you to do something, cut communication.

There are plenty of sites to find the right person for you, but as with anything on the Internet, safety should be your top concern. Trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right about a person, end it altogether.

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