Mumbai, India, February 13, 2015:Â ESET,Â the global leader in proactive digital protection, warns on Valentine’s day,Â the sad but true reality of online dating, which is a hotbed of tricks, lies and scams.Valentine’sÂ Day is slowly taking over of all social media channels. Even if you are a happy single person, the sweet love spreading everywhere may be too much to resist. But beware: Valentine’s Day is not just a feast for lovers!In this Valentine’s Day, millions will be looking for love online.
It may happen to all of us on Valentine’s Day. The opportunities are legion: enticing dating sites, Facebook profiles that look too good to be true, or married people on the prowl for some extracurricular romance. While the signs that something is not right are sometimes too obvious to miss, there are more sophisticated frauds who carefully plan each step of their entrapment. Their stories may change from time to time, but the reasons stay the same – they want your personal data and money.
“Sometimes they’ll wheel out a sob story from their family and ask for thousands of dollars – the average online dating fraud victim pays out over $13,000,” the blog post onÂ WeLiveSecurity.comÂ reports.Â Most of the fraudsters will push you to get off the original site to talk via email or text messages, while avoiding phone conversations.
“Most dating sites can monitor conversations for likely fraudsters – telltale signs like exchanging bank data, for example – and they don’t want their cover to be blown. Also, Nigerian and Eastern European fraudsters will pretend to be 20-something women from the US, Australia and Britain – a pretense they can’t keep up over the phone,” the report adds.
Details on common warnings abut online dating scams can be watched here:Â
Online dating scam sign 1: “I wouldn’t ask if I didn’t love you”
Our first tip is the most important, and combines two top-level warning signs in one. First: they come on too strong, telling you that you’re their soulmate after a few hours of chatting. Secondly – and this is the part to watch out for – they ask you for money.
Online dating scam sign 2:Â Sorry, I can’t talk right now…
Another sign you’re not talking to the person you think you are is an unwillingness to speak on the phone. Nigerians and Eastern European fraudsters will pretend to be 20-something women from the US, Australia and Britain – a pretense they can’t keep up over the phone. Similarly, watch out for anyone who’s super-keen to get you off the site where you met and talking over email or text: most dating sites can monitor conversations for likely fraudsters – telltale signs like exchanging bank data, for example – and they don’t want their cover blown.
Online dating scam sign 3:Â Do you look familiar?
It’s not just the scammers and criminals who might be taking advantage of your quest for ‘the one’. Online dating is big business -in order to lure you in, dating sites have been caught creating fake, attractive profilesÂ using celebrity photographs, stock images of models, or even photographs and personal details of real individuals who have no idea their images have been used – stolen from Facebook, usually.
A quick and easy tip: download their profile pic, then open up Google. Drag and drop the image into the search bar to search for any other uses of the picture. If it returns lots of hits from photo libraries, people with different names, or some minor actor, you’ve just rumbled a fake.
Online dating scam sign 4:Â He just came out of the blue
While romantic novels might be full of dashing, handsome, mysterious gentlemen who just arrive in town one day, in the current age it’s practically impossible to have no online history. If they’re savvy enough to be online dating, the chances are they’ve got at least some social media presence. If you’re Googling your potential heartthrob (admit it, we all do), and they’ve only recently joined Facebook and Twitter, your suspicions should be raised. Check the details match what they’ve told you, and see if their friends or followers look like genuine people.
Online dating scam sign 5:Â Is that a wedding ring?
A MSNBC study found that as many as a third of men using online dating are in fact married. Some common signs: his profile picture is hard to identify; he won’t give a landline phone number, and blocks the number when he calls; his responses are erratic and come at odd times of the day, and most of all, he’s reluctant to let you into his circle of friends or talk about his family life. If these sound familiar – beware.
Online dating scam sign 6:Â Tell me all about yourself…
This can be a harder one to see through, but you should be alert to theÂ possibility of identity theft. Online dating is a natural forum to share personal information, but be careful what you’re giving away. As well as the obvious – financial information, addresses – be wary of anyone who seems overly keen to know your mother’s maiden name, favorite pet or first school: the stuff that passwords and security questions are made of. We’re not saying you have to clam up like a CIA operative: but the alarm bells should ring if you think it’s all one-way traffic. If you’re sharing with them, they need to do the same – and our previous tips should help you check that they’re not feeding you fake information.