How to protect your credit while online dating Plastic love: May 3, Online dating services can be a terrific and efficient way to find love.
However, due to the anonymous nature of the process, hazards abound. Your credit and other financial interests may be at risk if you don't guard yourself from those falsely fishing for companionship. Here's how to protect more than just your heart when seeking a mate via the Internet.
A prevalent problem Connecting with prospective matches electronically is a thrill, but hope and excitement can supersede sound judgment and fact checking. A study about online dating and credit habits by ProtectMyID. While most people using online dating websites are genuine, charlatans comprise an uncomfortable proportion. Why are online daters susceptible to deception? Sixty to 90 percent of human communication is nonverbal, so you're missing so much.
You're at a severe disadvantage. In response, she founded Lovefraud. More, sharing personal details is intrinsic to forming a relationship, but it also can expose you to fraud, says Paul Falzone CEO of Norwell, Mass. They may ask for your home or work address to send you a gift. Scams vary Falzone contends that convincing people to charge up their credit cards is surprisingly easy. The thief will befriend an online dater, then "using stolen credit cards, he'll send jewelry, roses and claim he's traveling.
Within a week, some tragic event happens, and he has no funds to return to the U. Repayment never happens, of course, but unsolicited purchases do.
A popular scam of Russian origin preys on older American males. When the gentlemen take the bait, "again, something dreadful happens that requires the man to send money. Most need funds fast and press you to commit before thinking, Anderson says. They'll proclaim their love for you while they are taking your money. A "match" claiming to be able to help directs the person to a fictitious company website.
The applicant then enters his Social Security number and other personal and financial data, which the thief uses to open new credit and loan accounts. Other scammers postpone their crimes until the real life meet-up. Robert Siciliano, an identity theft expert and consultant for the security company Intelius, has posted fictitious profiles on dating websites for his job and says it's never long before a potential thief is in contact and professing love.
They tell me how much they miss me and think about me. For instance, Pasadena, Calif. Speak up, says Amy Cananday, public relations manager for Match. Their members all go through criminal background checks, but filtering fraud is not guaranteed.
Before getting the company's seal of approval, participating daters must physically go to one of their more than 50 locations and get checked, screened and cleared. Still, says Falzone, "It's an ongoing fight that doesn't end. Don't publish your phone number or birth date, as that information can be used to perpetuate ID theft.
Siciliano believes credit monitoring services can help make sure accounts aren't tampered with while dating online. For example, ProtectMyID scans the Internet daily, searching for fraudulent use of Social Security numbers and credit and debit accounts. If they spot illicit activity, they'll alert the member.
To discover a person's living situation, marriage status, criminal conviction, bankruptcies and job history, Siciliano suggests Intelius' Date Check product. These layers of protection can give peace of mind when fraternizing with strangers on the Internet.
Koppel recounts an incident where the man was unusually enthusiastic about his real estate deals: Koppel's best tips on protecting credit and identity while dating online: Avoid too-soon money discussions.
Never be afraid to say you don't want to share those details. Leave income fields blank. Some online dating sites ask you to reveal your annual salary; however, doing so can expose you to someone looking for high earners. It could happen to you. Many thieves are professionals and can pull information out of you before you know it. Don't let your guard down. Don't rely too heavily on background checks. Trust your instinct and be prepared to run -- not walk -- from anyone displaying suspicious behavior.
Though fraudsters can be slick, it usually doesn't take long before inconsistencies or red flags emerge. If they "need" money or inquire about anything related to your credit or finances, say goodbye, block them from your profile and report their activity to the service. For bad guys trawling the online dating waters, it's a numbers game. When you don't bite, they move on to the next fish in the sea of love. What you must know about identity theft , When you should and should not give out Social Security numbers , More about credit monitoring services Join the discussion We encourage an active and insightful conversation among our users.
Please help us keep our community civil and respectful. For your safety, do not disclose confidential or personal information such as bank account numbers or social security numbers. Anything you post may be disclosed, published, transmitted or reused.
If you are commenting using a Facebook account, your profile information may be displayed with your comment depending on your privacy settings. By leaving the 'Post to Facebook' box selected, your comment will be published to your Facebook profile in addition to the space below.
The editorial content on CreditCards. The journalists in the editorial department are separate from the company's business operations. The comments posted below are not provided, reviewed or approved by any company mentioned in our editorial content. Three most recent Legal, regulatory, privacy issues stories: