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Don't be a mug this Valentine's Day

Thu 14 Feb 2013
FYI, this story is more than a year old

With Valentine’s Day now here, romantic connections are top of mind.

For singles, online dating websites provide an attractive venue to meet that special someone.

Online dating sites are an increasingly popular means for finding the perfect partner, with New Zealand’s premier dating website recording 350,000 members.

But while falling in love with an online sweetheart can be an exciting time, it’s important to be cautious of scammers.

With most online threats, like viruses and phishing scams, people can protect themselves by using technology such as security software.

However, there is a wide array of digital dangers that prey on people’s emotions and trust, as we’ve seen with some recent public examples.

These situations can be avoided by instilling common sense and knowledge, in addition to security software.

Norton offers its advice to staying safe on Valentine's Day:

1. Until trust has been established, guard your heart

Never reveal personal data to someone until you meet face-to-face and are certain you can trust them. Don’t provide your full address when the city will suffice or a last name when an initial works fine.

2. Do your dating due diligence

Use search engines to make sure potential dates are who they say they are. Even a search with no results can often be a clue that the person isn’t being entirely honest.

3. Hold your websites to a high standard

Just like you hold your dates to high standards, do the same for the websites you visit - stick to sites that are reputable. Also, the letters “HTTPS” in the address bar shows that the form or page you are on is secure to send private information.

4. Beware of love apps and other mobile dangers

Free mobile offers like compatibility tests or SMS messages with your dating horoscope may seem like a fun way to pass the time, until you discover the hidden fees.

These services can also mask aggressive ad networks, known as “madware,” which sell your private data and also bombard you with promotions like an unwelcome stalker.

5. Love is a battlefield; arm yourself appropriately

As the first line of defense against online scams, use security software, such as Norton 360 Multi-Device, which is a single solution to protect all your devices.

Cybercriminals are more sophisticated than ever and they’ll jump on any social trend, like online dating, to spread malware and steal your personal details.

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