- Dean Smith
Online Daters Beware: Protect Yourself in Time for Valentine’s Day
With online dating reporting record numbers in revenue for 2012, according to Fast Company, and expected to continuously rise, ThreatMetrix has compiled a list to increase awareness of the top five threats online daters may face while navigating the world of cyber love.
Phony Dating Profiles – Creating phony profiles using fabricated information and fake photographs allows “cybercriminals” to connect with mass amounts of people. After a little sweet-talking and schmoozing to earn some trust, you may receive a link for you to click on, which ultimately implants malware used to acquire banking and credit card information.
Romance Scams – Using these phony profiles, criminals may earn your trust over an extended period of time by truly making you feel loved and wanted; so much so, that they need to see you as soon as possible. Next comes a request for a wire transfer for the purpose of buying a plane ticket, you consent, and your money (and online match) have fallen off the grid.
Mobile Security – Before downloading mobile applications to your smart phone, take the time to read through the agreements. Most people agree to these apps that use your GPS to locate you, which allows these criminals to see your location by tapping into these features. Take caution in telling your online mate that you will be on vacation, away for the weekend, etc. They may use this opportunity to break in to your house, considering they already know where it is. Testing Credit Cards – Some criminals use the dating site platform to test the functionality of your stolen card. If the membership goes through, they will take the liberty of buying “physical goods.” If you are a member of a dating site, make sure you regularly check your account to make sure there are no fraudulent charges and your financial information hasn’t been compromised.
Identity Theft – Supplemental applications downloaded from dating sites onto your smart phone, even Facebook, can ask users for access to your address book. Once these applications have opened up a pathway to your contacts, criminals can tap in, and eventually steal more important financial and person data, which goes hand-in-hand with reading agreements and terms and conditions of applications before accepting it.
Net-security.org suggests that “the most effective way for consumers to stay safe when online dating is to use caution and only register for credible dating sites that have sophisticated cybersecurity solutions in place.” The staff at ICU Investigations agrees, and if you feel you may have been the victim of fraud or a fraud scam, contact us today to start a formal investigation. Suspicious? Get Answers.