Social networking sites have made it simpler and more convenient to meet and interact with new people. It has also become easier to reconnect with old friends and even long-lost family members. There’s a specific type of networking resource though – a niche, so to speak – that caters to people looking to find a partner and has become popular over the past years: dating sites.
A good number of people looking for romantic relationships sign up for dating sites in the hopes of finding a potential partner. It’s a lot easier to make someone’s acquaintance online compared to thinking of a good ice breaker or pick up line to catch someone’s attention in a club. This is one of the reasons why dating sites are popular. It’s also an ideal place to register because most – if not all – of its members generally have the same reasons for joining. Members are aware that there’s also a large pool of eligible potential partners in these sites, making it unnecessary to rely on their friends or family for matchmaking.
Despite how helpful online dating sites are, there are serious hazards when you join these sites. Scams are unavoidable in these sites especially when the victims are too trusting of their suitors or online partners (who sometimes turn out to be scammers). There’s also the risk of attracting felons, stalkers and sexual predators because these types of criminals frequent dating sites to find their victims. Identity theft risks are also one of the hazards of online dating. Divulging sensitive and personal information puts you at risk of being a victim to identity thieves, and more often than not, the damage ID theft causes you can be irreparable.
However, there are various ways how you can protect your privacy online when you go to dating sites. Here are some of them:
1. Don’t give out sensitive or personal information.
Ideally, your account should reflect who you are and what your personality is in real life. To do this, you would normally use your real name and provide actual details about yourself. You should think twice about giving out this information as the first step in identity theft prevention. Providing your full name, date of birth, address, place of work, telephone number, credit card details and even the schools you previously attended can give thieves enough information to steal your identity.
2. Be careful of what you put online.
Everything you say online stays online forever. All information you provided in your old social network account remains online even after you deactivate it, making it easily accessible to other people. This information can also be used for identity theft.
3. Choose a strong password.
This should be the most basic principle when creating any type of account. A strong password makes it harder for thieves to steal the information you have in your dating site account. It will also prevent them from gaining access to your account and possibly scamming other people.
4. Be wary of potential partners.
Understandably, you might come to fully trust the person you’ve fallen in love with, regardless if you’ve only communicated online. But precisely because you’ve only interacted online, it’s necessary to be cautious. You can never be too sure whether you’re talking to a real person or to a con man pretending to get on your good side. There are numerous local and international private investigation companies that can do a background check on a potential partner.
All the basic information (name, age, location, mobile number, etc.) you provide in your dating site account may not actually be sufficient for thieves to steal your identity, but they can be combined with other information about you online to rip off your identity.
Joy is an active blogger who is fond of sharing interesting finance related articles to encourage people to manage and protect their finances. Follow her and know more on impacts of identity theft on your credit history and some quick tips for identity theft monitoring.