L is for the way you look at me, O is for the only one I see, V is be very, very careful with who you share your personal information with online.

In this modern age, dating websites and dating apps are dangerous hunting grounds for hackers. You may have often heard stories of innocent people getting conned by fraudsters who appear to be in love but are really looking to take advantage of lonely hearts. Tinder Swindler, Dirty John, and The Puppet Master are only a few of the many experiences people have faced when thinking they have met their too-good-to-be-true soul mates. But don’t let the attractive, smart, funny and rich beau fool you. According to the Federal Trade Commission, consumers reported losing $547 million in 2021 alone, going up nearly 80% from 2020.

Identifying a scammer can be difficult, especially when feelings are involved. Money is not all that’s at stake – emotions, identity and safety are often compromised as well. Here are some warning signs to be aware of if a scammer is trying to sweep you off your feet:

  • They live far away: scammers often pose as someone living on the other side of the world to create a convenient reason for why they can’t meet in person
  • They seem too good to be true: check if their profile looks legitimate. It should have a variety of pictures, details and links to other social media accounts
  • The relationship progresses fast: scammers want to gain your trust right away. Be cautious if they profess their love to you right away, ask you to marry them, make promises to see you, or communicate with you off the dating site
  • They never end up visiting: they don’t want you to know who they are. Although they make promises to visit and even ask you to pay for flights, it’s very common for them to cancel at the last second with a baffling excuse
  • They ask for money: scammers will often ask for money for situations such as travel expenses, medical expenses, debts, or family emergencies, following a tearjerker tale
  • They demand specific methods of payment: beware if your online companion asks for money to be sent via wire transfer, preloaded gift cards, new bank account in your name

Dating apps like Tinder and Hinge encourage scammers to engage with innocent and vulnerable victims who are looking for “the one”. With the overwhelming amount of information and intimate details that are shared on these platforms, it is no surprise that cybercriminals leverage this to gain personal data, including your identity. Here are some ways that you can connect safely without compromising your data:

  • Get familiar with privacy settings on social media apps. It’s important to be in control of the information you share online and who you want it to be visible to
  • Be selective with the accounts you link to your profile. By linking multiple accounts, you give scammers easier access to your data and general insight of who you are
  • Look into security software that will keep you safe from harmful attacks. Scam protection provides web filtering that will block access or warn victims of suspicious activity

Interested in learning more about ways to prevent scams and protect your personal data online? Book a demo with one of our solution experts and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay on top of the latest trends.