This Valentine’s Day, there’s more to worry about than the possibility of a broken heart. The FBI and identity theft advocacy organizations are warning those seeking love through online dating sites to watch out for “Sweetheart Scammers,” criminals who swindle money or bank account information from online daters. An expert from Experian can weigh in on this hot topic and give consumers tips to protecting themselves.
Experian’s ProtectMyID, an identity theft detection, protection and fraud resolution product offers insight and help to spot a scam before romance fades into financial and identity fraud.
Here are 5 Tips to Avoid Sweetheart Scammers:
- Be a tease. There’s no need to post all of your information online. Withhold personally identifiable information such as your hometown, home addresses, work specifics, phone numbers, educational background and information about your children.
- A little research goes a long way. Compare the information the person provides during your conversations, with the information that exists about them online to see if anything is conflicting. A person without an online presence is certainly a red flag.
- Get a second opinion. Friends and family will often have better radar than you will, since they are not directly involved in the romance. Introduce the love interest to a friend and ask for their honest opinion.
- Hold on to your check book. Regardless of how legitimate the monetary need might seem, deny any requests for financial loans or assistance of any kind.
- Trust your gut. If something seems fishy or too good to be true, it probably is. Trust your instincts, and don’t let yourself become love blind.