How to Protect Your Identity While Using An Online Dating Site
The number of online dating sites out there has exploded in recent years, and with it so too has the number of scammers trying to target your personal information. As with all internet activity, there are the good guys (and girls!) and the bad guys. The good guys are those people looking for a legitimate relationship, the bad guys are the con artists that are trying to steal your money, your credit cards and personal identity.
Even on reputable dating sites, people lie or exaggerate on their dating resume. The red flags of wiring money to Nigeria, being recently widowed, and posting fake pictures of models are easy dangers to spot. Spotting the professional identity hacker is much more difficult.
Smart Steps to Protect Your Identity:
Only Use Reputable Dating Sites
Thoroughly check out a dating site before signing up. Ask your friends for personal experiences and check out user reviews. The larger websites such as Match.com have fraud prevention teams, member-to-member technology, and guidelines about what to post in a personal profile.
Protect Your Personal Information
Identity thieves gather as much personal information as they can to hack your identity. Be careful about revealing your complete name, home address and cellphone number. Until you are confident, just use a nickname or alias. Even innocuous information like the place you were born, your pet’s name and your high school can be enough to crack the password to your Gmail account.
Conduct Online Searches
With a little bit of Googling and searching throughFacebook, you can find out a lot about a prospective date. Go beyond the first page of searches to find recent profile pics, mutual friends and active postings on social media. A lack of information is a sure sign of a fake profile.
Follow Smart Tech Security Practices
If you follow our blog you will find many tips for safe internet interaction. Here are just a few reminders of what to do:
- Install an anti-virus program and the latest security patches
- Have a strong password (more than 8 characters) and a password manager
- Check URLs thoroughly so you don’t end up on a look-alike dating site
- Be careful of clicking on links, opening attachments and subscribing to a free service
- Be careful of signing in on a public computer or shared computer. If you do, disable auto-sign in, auto-form filling and clear saved passwords.
Use a Devoted Email Address
It is always recommended to have a dedicated email account just for online dating. In this way, you won’t run the risk of having your main email address (which may contain sensitive information) compromised.
Be Web Smart
Use your common sense and not your heart if a person sounds too good to be true. Match.com suggests that you should be wary of anyone who:
- Quickly asks to talk or chat on an outside email or messaging service
- Claims to be from the U.S. but currently traveling, living or working abroad
- Vanishes mysteriously from the site, then reappears under a different name
- Asks for your address under the guise of sending flowers or gifts
- Makes an unusual amount of grammar and/or spelling errors
- Sends you emails containing strange links to third-party websites
Download a Protection App
Professional identity thieves will try to hack all your emails and social media accounts in order to attempt credit card fraud. Download a protection app for iOS or Android like LogDog to scan your accounts for suspicious behavior, alert you of unauthorized access and notice when your credit card details are being circulated on the black market.
At the end of the day, always block and report suspicious dating members to the admins of the dating site. This is the best way to stop cyber criminals from exploiting multiple victims on one website.