How to protect yourself from online dating fraud

How to protect yourself from online dating fraud

Heather Parry

By Heather Parry

07 July 2016

Fraud doesn’t always take the form you expect. It’s not all about cloning credit cards or identity theft. Sometimes, it’s a lot simpler than that.

Take online dating fraud, for example. This type of fraud plays on the vulnerability of everyday people.

So you’re looking for a partner. You join a few dating websites, maybe download an app or two, and start putting yourself out there. Sure enough, you find some potential partners, and before you know it, you seem to have met your perfect partner. Fantastic, right?

But what if that partner isn’t really who they say they are?

Your partner will foster a deep and intimate connection online, often over a long distance. They will encourage your emotional dependence on them, and sometimes even request photos and videos of an intimate nature. They will make you believe that they are dedicated to taking your relationship offline and into the real world.

And this is often when they strike.

Your “partner” might convince you that they need money to come and visit you, sometimes claiming that their travel tickets have been stolen or that they have missed a flight. They might tell you that something has happened to a friend or family member, and that they need money to pay for medical bills, or anything else to get you to hand transfer money or, worse, to hand over your online banking details.

And that’s when the trouble begins.

Fraudsters may threaten to post intimate photos or videos that you’ve sent them, or they may just continue to take money from you by convincing you that they need it. The emotional grip they have can stop you from seeing the situation for what it is. Many people fall for scams like this, and they all end up losing in some fashion.

So how can you avoid online dating fraud?

  • Watch out for people on dating sites who will ask you lots of information about yourself, but never give any about them.
  • Watch out for people who seem to be too good to be true. They often are.
  • Keep chatting on the official dating site rather than switching to email, chat or texting.
  • Never give out detailed personal information online.
  • Don’t open email attachments from people you’ve been chatting to online.
  • If you’re worried that you’ve been scammed, contact the police.

 

SurfEasy VPN is a great way to keep yourself safe and secure online, but you need to be informed and aware too. Never give out personal information online, and don’t trust people just because they seem to be genuine. Your safety is key; take steps to protect it.

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