Online dating has become common in recent years. A decade ago, people dated the conventional way. Dating apps means you can meet different people from across the globe, and as convenient as the apps are, online scams have become common. To find love online you will want to ensure you’re using a good quality broadband provider, allowing you to always be connected. Now let’s learn how to stay secure and safe as you find love.
Romance frauds occur where a scammer approaches targets to gain their trust as quickly as possible. A lot of scammers target widows, widowers, older men, or recent divorcees and take advantage of their vulnerability and desire for companionship.
Scammers create fake online identities, or in some occasions, adopt someone else’s identity. They usually claim to have jobs that keep them away in other countries for long periods for instance working in NGOs, the army, or oil rigs. After establishing an online relationship and building trust, they ask for money in elaborate schemes. In addition scams like these have become more frequents during the pandemic.
Webcam blackmail in other words know as sextortion, is where the scammers befriend their victims and build trust. The scammers then ask the victims to perform sexual acts in front of their webcam, leading to them recording it and using this for blackmail. The blackmail and cycle of threats never ends and the victim in most cases pays up to avoid getting exposed.
Phishing scams attempt to trick you into revealing your personal information in addition your credit card details, passwords, and your IP address. The scammer usually sends a link that claims to be something interesting. But once you click on the link, the snooper can access your information, for instance your IP address and can then be used to track down your physical address.
How to protect yourself
Think twice before you post on your social media accounts because criminals browsing through profiles can have a lot of information about your wealth, lifestyle, interests, etc. They may make use of these details to target you.
Many romance fraudsters promise to meet in person but make excuses to avoid the situation. Beware if the person you are talking to refuses to meet in person.
Never send money to someone you have never met in person. Beware if they request financial information from you.
Meet in public places
If you meet someone online and ask for a physical meeting, always make sure you meet in a public place. When meeting this person, make sure a friend knows your location at all times and if you change the meeting point. So make sure you are never alone, and possibly keep your phone GPS on at all times.
Use a Google Voice Number
The Google Voice number is a service that allows people to create an extra phone number that can make free domestic calls and cheap international calls. The service offers spam filters, which make it impossible for a scammer to know your real telephone number.
Using a VPN
In face of phishing attempts looking for access to your IP address, you can use a VPN. A VPN provides a private network between your device and the internet. Meaning that your activities are encrypted and that your IP address is private. This protects snoopers from knowing your personal information and location.
Online dating is convenient and allows you to interact with diverse people from across the globe. The problem is that there are thousands of scammers as well, and telling who is genuine has become tricky.
To avoid falling for scams, take everything about the people you meet with a pinch of salt. Finally take it slow and watch for red flags such as someone professing love after a few conversations or asking you for money. Be vigilant, and stay safe.