Feb. 10, 2012 at 1:28 PM ET
As more people turn to online dating sites to meet potential mates, the bad guys are going there, too, but not with love in mind. A company that works with online dating sites says fraudulent transactions on such sites were up 150 percent in 2011 over 2010.
“Cybercriminals are constantly looking for that common interest to capitalize on and in this case it’s love,” said Molly O’Hearn, vice president of operations at iovation, in a press release. Iovation is a security firm that works with many online dating sites.
“As we head into Valentine’s Day, people should be wary of any sort of interaction that seems a little off. Just like in the face-to-face world, if something seems too good to be true it probably is.”
The firm's software identifies computers, mobile phones and tablets that used to commit fraud. Last year, iovation said 3.8 percent of the transactions it processed for online dating sites were fraudulent, a "more than a 150 percent increase over the 1.4 percent in 2010 and 1.5 percent in 2009."
The company says these are the most common scenarios for potential fraud:
- Credit Card Fraud — Customer uses a fake or stolen credit card to create multiple accounts to scam users.
- Spamming — User is caught sending unsolicited bulk messages via emails, postings, instant messages, etc. to promote other products, websites or companies.
- Scams and Solicitations — User takes advantage of the community to promote nonexistent services and products, or to solicit services from legitimate members.
- Identity Mining — User makes any attempt to illegitimately acquire personal information from other users through means of phishing, keystroke logging, creating fake business websites and other methods.
- Profile Misrepresentation — User posts inaccurate information in profile and/or uses bogus profile photos.
With online dating being the way that one-third of Internet-using adults get together these days, there are warning signs for preventing heartache, and you probably know many of them. Keeping your wallet safe, as well as your heart, is just as important.