Online Dating ​& Cybersecurity

​​[​Infographic]

​It's time to quit balking at online dating. Modern problems need modern solutions, and online dating is perfectly safe if you do it right. Learn all about protecting yourself from common dating scams so you can start looking for the love of your life!

online dating and cybersecurity

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Online Dating & Cybersecurity: How To Find Love Without Losing Everything

In 2019, the FBI indicted 80 people for stealing $46 million through a network of schemes targeting users of online dating services

Prevalence of Online Dating

-Almost 35 million Americans have tried online dating
-59% of U.S. adults believe online dating is a good way to meet people
-Up from 44% in 2005

Who Uses Online Dating Services?

-Male users tend to be more active
-Men 65%
-Women 35%
-Primary users tend to be younger

In 2018,


-75% were just under 30
-90% were under 40
-Among young adults, online dating has grown by more than 4X since 2013
-BUT older Americans use online dating too: Over 1 in 10 online daters are over 55

People are more willing to connect and to put themselves out there

-66% of those who use dating sites have met a match in person
-Up from 43% in 2005
-Being vulnerable on the internet requires some amount of trust
-Half of online daters describe themselves as “risk-takers

What are the risks of online dating itself?

While less than 0.5% will experience an online romance scams, the cost for the unfortunate victims can be severe

Guard Your Heart (And Your Wallet)

Today, romance-related scams are the most expensive form of online fraud


Why?


These kinds of romance scams are very targeted social engineering attacks, effectively ‘hacking’ the victim’s emotions, rather than trying to perform a technical assault” - Nathan Wenzler, Senior Director of Cybersecurity at Moss Adams


-In 2016, a Japanese woman and sent her online boyfriend, a U.S. Army captain stationed in Syria, over $200,000 ― leaving her nearly bankrupt
-BUT within a year she found out that her boyfriend didn’t exist
-Instead, he was made up by a ring of 14 cyber scammers operating out of Los Angeles and Nigeria


-In 2018, the median reported loss from romance scams was $2,600
-7X more than the cost of other online scams
-BUT for people over 70, the cost was much higher, reaching $10,000
-Between 2010 and 2012, Debby Johnson lost over $1 million to a dating scammer, liquidating her retirement, investments, and some of her parents’ savings


How Do Scams Happen?


-Scammer creates a fake profile on a dating site or apps
-Then, they strike up a relationship with their targets through frequent contact
-Once trust is built, the scammers make up a story and ask for money


Many ask their targets for money to pay for:


-Medical expenses
-Personal debts
-Travel expenses


In 2017, a scammer was caught after defrauding $1.7 million from over 30 victims
One way he obtained money ― have a victim apply for a credit card, get a cash advance, then wire the money to South Africa


Prevent Heartbreak: Tips for Online Dating Safely

-Keep Your Contact Information Private
-DON’T: Include any identifying info on your dating profile
-DO: Set up your social media accounts with the highest security levels
-Limit the information posted on your other social accounts


Risking More Than Money: What secure information could be found and how?


-Home address tagged in an Instagram post
-Work location via LinkedIn
-Phone number linked to your Facebook profile


Use Trusted Sites & Apps


-DON’T: Trust just any of the estimated thousands of dating sites
-DO: Utilize larger, more reputable sites and apps
-Many require a membership fee and user verification which help ward off amateur scammers


Verify Potential Suitors’ Identity


-DON’T: Take a match’s words at face value
-DO: Verify that they are who they say they are
-Cross-check photos across any accounts linked to their name
-Reverse image search their photos to ensure they are not using others’ images
-Perform a complete background check on people you’re serious about


Protect Your Heart


If you are a victim of an online dating scam, take action immediately


-Stop communicating with the person
-Notify the app or site of the incident
-Report the person to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint

If you paid a scammer with a prepaid card or gift card, contact the company ー while unlikely, it may be possible to get a refund

There's plenty of fish in the sea — Just watch out for sharks

Sources:


https://www.marketwatch.com/story/fbi-indicts-80-people-in-massive-nigerian-fraud-case-2019-08-23
https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/what-you-need-know-about-romance-scams
https://www.thecut.com/2019/04/i-lost-a-million-dollars-in-an-online-dating-scam.html
https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/02/29/5-facts-about-online-dating/
https://www.safewise.com/blog/how-to-date-online-safely/
https://www.statista.com/statistics/417654/us-online-dating-user-numbers/
https://blog.globalwebindex.com/trends/online-dating/
https://www.marketwatch.com/story/love-is-the-biggest-scam-in-america-2019-02-13
https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/blogs/data-spotlight/2019/02/romance-scams-rank-number-one-total-reported-losses
https://www.bbb.org/globalassets/article-library/romance-scam-study/bbb-study-online-romance-scams-study.pdf
https://www.truthfinder.com/infomania/dating-relationships/dating-background-check/
https://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/30/fashion/tinder-the-fast-growing-dating-app-taps-an-age-old-truth.html?referrer=&_r=0


Learn more from Our Dating Journey:


​-Read our dating story

-Read other amazing online dating stats

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