Repayment never happens, of course, but unsolicited purchases do.A popular scam of Russian origin preys on older American males.In response, she founded Lovefraud.com, a resource to help others detect and recover from romance con artists.More, sharing personal details is intrinsic to forming a relationship, but it also can expose you to fraud, says Paul Falzone CEO of Norwell, Mass.-based e Love, one of the world's largest brick-and-mortar dating services.
According to Consumer Fraud Reporting.org, as much as 30 percent of online personalities are bogus. Because, says Donna Andersen, of Egg Harbor Township, N.Your credit and other financial interests may be at risk if you don't guard yourself from those falsely fishing for companionship.Here's how to protect more than just your heart when seeking a mate via the Internet."Some questions seem innocent, like asking what your mother's name is or what your parents do for a living.They may ask for your home or work address to send you a gift." Such tidbits are invaluable currency for identity thieves.Scams vary Falzone contends that convincing people to charge up their credit cards is surprisingly easy.The thief will befriend an online dater, then "using stolen credit cards, he'll send jewelry, roses and claim he's traveling.A prevalent problem Connecting with prospective matches electronically is a thrill, but hope and excitement can supersede sound judgment and fact checking.A study about online dating and credit habits by Protect My ID.com, Experian's identity theft protection program, found that nearly half of the respondents never verify the authenticity of their chat mates, and nearly 10 percent actually sent them their Social Security numbers or bank account information.Speak up, says Amy Cananday, public relations manager for Match.com, the Dallas company that pioneered online dating."We encourage our members to never share their credit card information with another member on the site and report suspicious activity immediately." Falzone, though, recognizes that it can take more than caution to stay safe when conversing over the Internet.Use the computer advantageously, says Jennifer Leuer, general manager for Protect My ID."Google their names, check them out on [social networking website] Linked In or use the Net's white pages." As you're investigating, make your own profile mysterious.Most need funds fast and press you to commit before thinking, Anderson says. They'll proclaim their love for you while they are taking your money." Schemes mutate with the times, and a recent one targets online daters looking for employment or better income.