Valentine’s Day is next week! Are you thinking of ways to celebrate or are you still looking for love? If it’s the latter, chances are you’ve considered using the Internet to help find someone special. And you’re not alone – millions of people meet, date and marry thanks to dating websites.
But just as you take steps to protect your heart in the real world, you need to protect yourself when virtual dating. While most of the people you meet online are probably as sincere as you are, some may not be.
Sadly, nearly half of online daters don’t take steps to verify the authenticity of a potential match before communicating, according to a 2010 survey Impulse Research conducted on behalf of ProtectMyID. Nearly 30 percent of those surveyed gave out their home address and almost 75 percent revealed their birth date – all information that could be very valuable to unscrupulous people contemplating online identity theft.
Here are some online dating safety basics to separate the scammers from the potential soul mates:
- Research your potential match on sites like LinkedIn, Facebook or Google. You’re not stalking, you’re being cautious.
- On your online profile, don’t give specifics like your full name, address, place of business, phone numbers, where you went to school or the names and ages of your kids. Don’t share any of that info with a prospective match until you’ve gotten to know each other better.
- Be wary of emails with a link that purports to be for an online Valentine’s Day card. The link may take you to a website that will attempt to download malware onto your computer, a common identity theft tactic. Likewise, delete Valentine’s emails from anyone you don’t know.
Online can be a great place to look for love. By keeping online dating safety in mind, you can make sure you’re looking for love in all the right places this Valentine’s Day!