All over the world, online dating sites are riddled with internet scammers. For example the Australian government has collected reports from 1600 internet fraud victims who reported losing a total of 17 million dollars to online dating scams in 2011.
“These scams typically involve a genuine user of a dating website being contacted by a potential admirer who is a scammer in disguise. After forming a relationship with the victim, the scammer plays on emotional triggers to get the victim to provide money, gifts or personal details,” said the ACCC, which is encouraging online dating websites to help protect users from these kinds of internet scams by warning them of the risks and verifying dating profiles.
Meanwhile, Mashable reports a 150% increase in global online dating fraud in 2011
If you use an online dating service, be on guard for internet fraud and follow these internet safety tips:
- Stick to legitimate, well-known online dating sites, and get referrals from friends who have successfully met romantic partners online.
- When creating your internet dating profile, never post personal information, including your middle name, full address, phone number or entire birth date.
- To vet potential online dates, look for information about them elsewhere online, and confirm that it matches the information in their online dating profiles.
- If a potential online date asks for a loan or any financial information, report them to the online dating website immediately. Discussion of money or loans in any capacity is a red flag.
- When it comes to internet fraud, no matter who someone is, what they say, or how they look, don’t automatically trust them.
- Don’t let your heart get in the way of basic common sense.