Online Dating, Identity Theft and Valentine’s Day

Online Dating, Identity Theft and Valentine’s Day

We’re waiting longer to marry, but that doesn’t mean we’re not looking for love—and more of us are doing so online. The Pew Research Center says the median age for a first marriage in this country reached its highest point on record last year—29.5 years for men and 27.4 years for women. Pew also reports that a majority of Americans now say online dating is a good way to meet people.

It can also be a good way to lose your identity.

Men and women who sign up with online dating services can be asked to share a tremendous amount of information about themselves—just the kind of information that identity thieves and other scammers are looking for.

If you’re among those looking for love online this Valentine’s Day, be careful. Our friends at the Identity Theft Resource Center offer a few simple tips to help protect you from being a victim.

Do not give out personal information. Information such as your address, phone number, Social Security number, or place of employment can be used to steal your identity.

Be wary of people who seem to move too quickly. You should spend quite a bit of time getting to know someone before you travel to see them or give them any personal information.

Don’t send money to anyone you meet online. When you send a check to someone, you’re also giving that person your checking account and routing numbers printed on your check. This information could be used to drain your bank account. Besides, if someone’s asking for money, they may not be looking for love.

If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. The adage applies to all aspects of life, including romance.

Be careful when logging into dating sites in public places. Identity thieves on the same Wi-Fi network can easily monitor what you’re doing online and even capture your login information.

Good luck with finding your true love online. It does happen! Pew says five percent of Americans in a committed relationship say they met their significant other online. Still, the vast majority of relationships still begin in more old-fashioned ways.

Posted by Cory Warren, editor; in a committed relationship with someone he met through friends.

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