You were wondering if there really was a doggie dating site, weren't you?
Well, there isn't... for now. However, you may be one of the 40 million Americans now dating online. While we may joke around about doggie dating, there is nothing funny about having your identity stolen (and your heart broken) by an unscrupulous individual using online dating as a platform to find targets. So here are some tips to help you protect your personal information while dating online:
Do Not Give Out Personal Information
If someone asks for your address to send you a gift, tell them you can accept it if (and when) you meet in person. Information such as your address, phone number, Social Security number or place of employment can be used to steal your identity.
Be Wary of People Who Seem to Move Too Quickly
If someone you just started communicating with last week asks for your hand in marriage, it could be a red flag that this person has less than honorable intentions. You should spend quite a bit of time getting to know someone before you travel to see them or give them any personal information.
Don’t Send Money to Anyone You Meet Online
You have been talking to John in Baltimore for months now and you agree it is time to meet in person. He says he will pay half of the ticket and you just need to mail him a check for the other half. Sounds fair, except now he has your checking account number, your routing number and whatever other personal information you have divulged to him in your courting period which he may be able to use to drain your bank account.
If They Seem Too Good to be True, They Probably Are
This is true with any scam and is just a good rule to live by. If a person contacts you and has the exact same interests, is physically perfect in your eyes, agrees with everything you say and instantly falls madly in love with you, you may be the luckiest person on earth… or you might be getting ready to be taken advantage of.
Be Careful When Logging into Dating Sites in Public Places
Dating networks are much like other social networks. The same havoc that can be wreaked on your life should someone be able to log into your Facebook account can also take place if someone is able to access your online dating account. So take precautions to log out, and close browsers when logging off your accounts when on a computer that is used by more than one person.
For more information on staying safe while online dating, download the free ID Theft Help Mobile App from the Identity Theft Resource Center. It will provide you information on how to protect yourself and tell you what to do in case you do fall victim to a scam or identity theft. If you have more questions, you can connect directly through the app to one of the Identity Theft Resource Center's Victim Advisors who are available to talk to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can download the Android version from Google Play or the Apple version on the iTunes Store.
Here are some resources from the ITRC and our friends at the National Cybersecurity Alliance for you to learn more about online safety, privacy and protecting yourself from identity theft.
If you still have questions, feel free to give our 24/7 hotline at 888.400.5530 to speak with a victim advisor.
Finally, good luck in your search for your other half!