According to a 2015 report by the Pew Research Center, 5 percent of all adults in marriages and long-term committed relationships met online. That number is expected to grow as more millennials settle down with significant others they met on Tinder, OkCupid, Match.com and other dating platforms. The same study showed that one in five adults between the ages of 25 and 34 have looked for dates and romantic connections on the internet.
Online dating may be a growing avenue for successful long-term partnerships. However, users should be careful about the information they supply on profiles, which can ask revealing questions about users. For example, some sites may give the option to list how much money you earn, in which neighborhood you live, where you were born and more valuable data points that can be used by identity thieves. Criminals may also pose as strangers and use chat platforms to procure even more personal information about your life.
Here are a few reasons why dating sites are appealing targets for ID thieves:
Dating sites can be subject to hacks. Particularly on sites that require payment, your credit card information and other personal data could be exposed if firewalls and other security measures at the company are compromised. High-profile personal classifieds hacks have garnered headlines in 2015, so joining the wrong site could add your name to the growing list of Americans whose private data is no longer private.
Anyone can join a dating site. Due to the open nature of online dating platforms, it’s easy for a criminal to pose as someone he or she isn’t. Getting “catfished” could be the least of your troubles if someone with deeper and more illegal intentions. While users can usually flag or report profiles that act suspiciously, very little (if any) up-front vetting can stop someone from completely fabricating an identity designed to lure unsuspecting users.
Dating site users are looking for connections. The business of matchmaking attracts people who are sincerely looking for love. As such, users may be less inhibited sharing details about their lives with a perfect stranger. That openness is why online dating works for some people. This creates a pool of vulnerable potential victims for ID thieves to exploit through phishing.
If you’ve turned to online dating as a resource to meet eligible singles, use caution when submitting information to sites themselves and users who contact you. US News and World Report compiled a list of safe online dating practices. In addition to your physical security, however, it’s important to watch out for the safety of your information.
To address the negative effects of identity theft as soon as possible, contact Identity Guard today. Our credit monitoring servicecan let you know when certain financial information has been obtained and exploited by criminals. Careful consumer practices can limit your risk, but quick and effective response in the wake of ID theft can minimize the toll it takes on your life.