While it can be exciting to meet someone new online, it’s also a good time this Valentine’s Day to recall a few safety tips associated with online dating, specifically how to carefully manage your social media and email accounts.
McAfee, this Valentine’s Day and in support of Internet Safety Day, which took place last week on February 8th, has shone a spotlight on the rise of online dating as well as the number of online romance scams that have devastated online users both in terms of their hearts and wallets.
Protecting yourself and your digital identity when online dating is a safety concern to be taken seriously.
According to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the reported costs of online romance scams jumped 50% from 2019 to 2020, to the tune of $304 million. From 2016 to 2020, the volume of reported cases tripled, while reported losses nearly quadrupled. Over that period, online romance scams not only became more common, but they also brought financial trouble for unsuspecting and unsafeguarded internet users.
Top Tips to Avoid a Scam
To meet people safely online, especially through social media, McAfee shares three things you can do to limit your chances of getting caught up with a scammer:
- Go private—social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and others give you the option of making your profile and posts visible to friends only. Choosing this setting keeps the broader internet from seeing what you’re doing, saying, and posting, which can help protect your privacy and give a romance scammer less information to exploit.
- Say “no” to strangers bearing friend requests—Be critical of the invitations you receive. Strangers could be more than a romance scammer, they could be a fake account designed to gather information on users for purposes of cybercrime, or they can be an account designed to spread false information.
- Protect yourself and your devices—Use and keep security software up to date. Security software range in level of security, but each assist to protect your personal info and privacy, and some, like McAfee Total Protection can also provide cover for up to 10 devices. Some software plans in the market offer identity restoration assistance and financial cover in the circumstance of identity theft, too.
Security software protects consumers from the damage of clicking on malicious links that a scammer may send you online, while also steering you clear of other threats like viruses, ransomware, and phishing attacks in general. Security software assists with guarding personal information as well, by protecting your privacy and monitoring your email, SSN, bank accounts, credit cards, and other info that a scammer or identity thief may use.
Protect yourself, your wallet, and your heart when you socialise online, and use caution when interacting with content and applications that involve strangers.
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