FutureFive NZ - Valentine’s Day an opportunity for identity thieves

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Valentine’s Day an opportunity for identity thieves

Online daters should be wary about the increased security risks associated with looking for love online this year and their unique susceptibility to identity theft and online scams, says security company BitDefender.

“Finding the perfect match on Valentine’s Day via an online dating service sounds like a dream come true, but it can quickly turn into a nightmare,” says Catalin Cosoi, BitDefender’s senior antispam researcher.

“To avoid falling victim to cybercrimes, online daters should only use sites with explicit privacy policies, ensuring that their anonymity will be protected and no private information will be revealed without their consent.”

Starting out with an online dating service, users should always provide as little detail as possible and employ nicknames or aliases in lieu of real names. If possible, they should create and use an alternative email account, ensuring the security of their personal account and work information. Users should never reveal sensitive private data such as a home or work addresses, phone numbers or personal identification numbers.

“Even the most trivial information - like your mother’s maiden name or first pet’s name - can be exploited by cybercriminals. Many of these details may seem unimportant, but they can serve as password recovery hints for email addresses or online banking accounts. Moreover, online daters must be careful never to share financial data, such as bank accounts, credit card numbers or PINs” added Cosoi.

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