Online Dating: Protect Yourself from Scammers
More than 6,000 online romance scams were reported to the Internet Crime Complaint Center in 2013, according to the agency’s annual Internet Crime Report. As someone new to online dating, these statistics can be staggering and might make you rethink signing up for that dating site. While concerning, this is no reason to give up on finding true love online. Armed with the following tools, you can protect yourself on your journey to find love.
Online Dating: Protect yourself from scammers
If a person who you meet online says anything odd that sends up a red flag, do a quick Google search to see if anyone has reported the person as an online scammer. Search the same keywords used in the person’s story; the ones that gave you pause or copy/paste a questionable line of conversation as a query. Scams are rarely reworked so you may find someone else’s story and benefit from their experience. Read up on some of the warning signs for online dating scams.
If all seems to check out and you plan to go on a first date, this tool comes in handy as well. Search the person’s name to find out a little more about him or her to try to prevent any big surprises or disappointments. If any findings make you at all uncomfortable, don’t feel bad about cancelling. It’s better to find out anything unsavory up front to avoid wasting your time.
While you may know better than to give away your personal information or Social Security number to a potential date online, simply letting a new date into your home could put you at risk for identity theft. Instead of being insufferably suspicious of everyone (which could be a major turnoff), get identity theft protection from the professionals. This way, you can stop worrying and rest assured that the company’s monitoring software will quash any potential identity theft threats that may arise. Protection services like Lifelock regularly search more than a trillion data points to uncover any potential threats where your personal information is being unlawfully used. If any suspicious activity is detected, you’ll be alerted right away and the company will help resolve the situation.
If you have any inkling that a prospective date may not be the person in the profile picture, do a TinEye search to find out if the image is being used anywhere else on the Internet. TinEye is a reverse search engine specifically for images. Simply upload an image or use the image URL to search on TinEye. Often online dating scam artists will use a generic photo from a Google image search or they’ll pull a random Facebook photo. By searching on TinEye and seeing where else the image appears, you’ll be able to find out if that photo is being used under any other names as well. If you find that the same image is used in Facebook, Instagram or Twitter photos with the same name, the person is more than likely legitimate.
While all of this potential for foul play may have you considering that online dating is more trouble than it’s worth, remember, a little common sense can go a long way in helping you make the most out of this new dating experience. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. If something seems too good to be true, then it probably is. Your own gut instinct and common sense can often protect you more than anything else.