A lot of people take their time getting to really get to know a prospective partner before beginning a romantic relationship.
As much as everyone should be careful about the information they share on dating sites, and the internet at large, chances are that some data will be publicly accessible.
Use this to your advantage to see what you can learn about your would-be partner – consider using a Google image search to see if their profile picture is unique or lifted from elsewhere on the web (a lazy trick operated by many online fraudsters). If someone you’ve never met in real life asks you for money, don’t give it to them, irrespective of how you may feel about them or the stories they’ve told you.
Scammers are good at taking advantage of people’s kindness and will use any trick they can to separate you from your money – including asking for it up front to supposedly help get them out of trouble, an age-old scam known as “advance fee fraud.” It doesn’t matter whether the person you are talking to needs money for the air fare to come and pay you a visit, or cash to pay medical bills, or is a serviceman in the military who needs help retrieving their property – all such requests are extremely likely to be fraudulent. Not everyone on a dating site is a good person, and some are downright dangerous – in addition to fraudsters, you may also encounter stalkers or abusive “trolls.” If you are receiving abusive messages, report the offender and, if the site supports it, block them too so they cannot harass you any further.
Action Fraud and the City of London Police have launched a new initiative that aims to separate cybercrime and fraud facts from fiction.
Dubbed “Urban Fraud Myths,” the thirteen day campaign kicked off with a look at online dating, a crime which swindled 3543 Brits out of £33.65 million ($51 million) in the last year.
Perhaps influenced by the approaching Halloween, the first in a scary-looking series of images puts forward one of the key myths about signing up to a dating site: Always be cautious about the people you meet online, especially if they start asking for money to help a family member, to visit you or pay medical bills etc.
Never send money or give credit card or online account details to anyone you don't know and trust.
That is sound advice, but we have more tips for staying safe when you use online dating sites. Probably not, and so you shouldn’t give away such information on a dating site, or anywhere else on the web for that matter.
The same goes for your phone number, full name and even your Facebook profile which can, of course, give away a huge amount of personal information to anyone who cares to take a look at it (also read our 5 tips to make your Facebook account safer).