In the run up to Valentineís day, finding love will be on may minds and each year, Internet dating sites help thousands of people find Mr. or Ms. Right or at the very least Mr. or Ms. Rightnow.
Most dating websites are very responsible in helping people understand how to stay safe when first getting to know someone online when the time is right, in person. An area less touched on however, is the risk of falling foul to unscrupulous identity fraudsters, who could have ulterior motives in making new relationships online. The risk of becoming a victim of fraud is one we all face as we are all living our lives more and more online. This means that we have all created an online identity made up of lots of our personally identifiable information which could together be misused if they fall into the wrong hands. Therefore, as with any other online account, there are some important steps that we should take to protect ourselves from identity theft while looking for love online.
Here are some online identity protection tips from Experian CreditExpert, so you can stay focused on finding your valentine:
ï In online dating, your profile is important but use the same rules you on your social media profile. Try and get in the habit of considering the question ñ Does this tell people about the type of person I am OR could it possibly be used to reveal who I am?
ï Donít use the same user name on your online dating account as you do across other online accounts. This information can be used by fraudsters to identity patterns and lay a trail to other online accounts you use.
ï When you are first getting to know people online do not to divulge specific personal information no matter how comfortable you might feel. Details which may seem insignificant such are your email address, date of birth and even where you work could all help create a profile of your real identity which could be valuable to an identity fraudster.
ï As you get to know people better and it is only natural to want to want to move the friendship into the ërealí world and you may both be ready to start communicating over text. As ever, be cautious of answering blocked numbers and remember do not share specific information like your home address or home phone numbers that could identify where you live.
ï Never tell a potential date any financial information, no matter how genuine their request may seem. If you have any doubts, take heed of them and consult a friend or the dating website themselves for advice.
ï Finally, when the time is right, ask to meet in person. If a potential partner is not interested or available to meet you in person, they they may have ulterior motives in cultivating a friendship than finding true love.
Finally, if you think you donít always protect your personal online information as you should and would like extra peace of mind to enjoy your online life worry free, services like Experianís web monitoring tool available through Experian CreditExpert, will monitor the wider web for mentions of your personal information 24/7, sending you an instant notification if your information appears somewhere new online. This helps ensure you can take immediate steps together with our Victims of Fraud team to resolve any potential fraudulent activity before you are negatively impacted.
People who think they have become victims of identity fraud should notify Action Fraud, contact their bank and check their credit report. Also, Experian's Victims of Fraud service is a dedicated team on hand to give expert advice and support tailored to victimsí particular circumstances.
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