In the quest for romance and a relationship many people turn to online dating services. To many individuals this seems easier than the traditional dating methods. The desire for a relationship has made the online dating industry a $4 billion a year business.
It's also become a huge target for cybercriminals. The cybercrime associated with online dating sites has grown significantly over the years. According to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (ICCC), one in 10 dating sites is a scam, and costs their victims an average of $50 million annually.
ThreatMetrix™ is a company that provides cybercrime solutions. It has created a list of the five most common cybersecurity threats people should know about when choosing an online dating website.
Love and/or Romance Scam
Cybercriminals will create a false online dating profile, and then ask an online dating match to wire money so they can meet. A person from an online dating website may claim they're from an exotic foreign country then asks to be sent a check or wire money to cover travel expenses. The victim in the United States sends the scammer a money order or check, and never hears from the match again.
Cybercriminals regularly use fake profiles, which include photos and descriptions, so they can gain trust and take advantage of an online dating customer. They also share malicious links with their dating matches. This can result in malware being downloaded on the user's device. In these cases, cybercriminals are not seeking their soul mate, but want a substantial amount of information in order to compromise a person's credit cards and bank accounts.
Geo-location on smart phones makes it possible for a cybercriminal to know a person's exact location. Users must make sure to not tell any online dating match when they are going to be away from their home or out of the country. These cybercriminals may take advantage of this information by robbing the person's house.
Credit Card Fraud
Cybercriminals will often use an online dating site to test stolen credit cards. If the card is accepted for an online dating membership, the criminal will know it can be used to purchase physical goods like consumer electronics and more.
Third-party applications downloaded from dating sites may request permission to view the address book or stored contacts of a customer. This will ultimately lead to more sensitive information being requested, and this will lead to identity theft. Once an online application has access to certain information on a customer's device, the cybercriminal can easily hack into someone's personal and financial data.
In a February 7, 2013 press release Alisdair Faulkner, chief products officer, ThreatMetrix is quoted as saying "Unfortunately, the online dating market not only attracts people genuinely looking to meet, it also attracts cybercriminals, both foreign and domestic, who use fake profiles to steal personal and financial information. Recognizing the huge profits in online dating, cybercriminals have found several sophisticated ways to target innocent users. To prevent attacks, consumers must be vigilant of the information they share with online suitors, and commercial dating sites should make cybersecurity a top priority by implementing an integrated device identification and malware prevention solution."
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Published by J. Michael Krivyanski
Mike has written for a wide variety of magazines. Everything from business to general interest magazines and more have seen his byline. He pens a humor column for a newspaper syndicate and continues his da... View profile
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