How to avoid online dating scams, according to a cybersecurity firm

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 09 2022 05:29 PM | Updated as of Feb 09 2022 09:50 PM

MANILA -- A cybersecurity firm shared tips on avoiding dating scams just in time for Valentine season, pointing out that many are taking advantage of people who are looking for love online. 

In a statement released Wednesday, Kaspersky said one of the warning signs of online dating scams include a demonstration of strong emotions in a very short time, and a quick move from dating sites or apps into private channels.

It added that scammers also tend to ask a lot of questions to know more about the users they are targeting. Other reasons to be suspicious are inconsistent stories, no video calls or face-to-face meetings, and requests for money based on personal hardship. 

"When we were younger, we tend to be more curious and a bit more reckless. When we become older, we have a lot of time in our hands and, usually, retirement funds in our bank accounts. Cybercriminals know these realities as well as our human tendencies to be lonely and crave for a company when forced to be alone inside our houses," said Chris Connell, Kaspersky's managing director for Asia Pacific.

"However, the cases we've seen lately should serve as a reminder for us to keep our minds 'on' even as we listen to our hearts. Because nothing is more painful than having a fake lover and an empty wallet, we urge everyone from all ages to remain vigilant and be better in discerning the authenticity of the relationships we are building online and offline," he added.

Below are Kaspersky's tips to avoid online dating scams:

- When using social media sites, don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know

- Avoid revealing too much personal information in a dating profile or to someone you've chatted with only online

- Take things slowly. Ask your potential partner questions and watch out for inconsistencies that might reveal an impostor

- Use reputable dating sites and keep communicating through their messaging service

- Never give money to someone unless you also have a relationship with them offline

- If you do make a date with someone outside of cyberspace, be sure to let people in your life know where you'll be, to be on the safe side

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