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5 Tips on Cyber Dating this Valentine’s Day

You might have seen shows like "90-Day Fiance" or "Catfish," where people mix love and money online and sometimes get tricked. At Aventa, we understand sometimes love is found online, we also want to keep our members safe. 

Here are 5-tips to help you stay safe while dating online.

1. Recognizing the Financial Risks

Before setting up your online dating profile, it's essential to understand that there are financial risks associated with online dating. 'Catfishing' is the term used to describe a situation in which someone pretends to be someone they are not. In 2022, a woman from Florida lost $100,000 in a catfish scheme. Fortunately, the Florida woman remained physically unharmed. However, this example shows the high cost of fraud potential associated with catfishing.

(https://www.wesh.com/article/florida-catfishing-scheme/39994633)

Catfishing can sometimes be a type of romance scam. Romance scams are committed when perpetrators build emotional connections with their targets and eventually request money for various reasons, such as emergencies or travel expenses. They might not ask for money immediately, so it doesn't immediately incite a red flag; instead, they might wait and build that connection for months, even years, before requesting money.

Catfishing and romance scams are two of the most common risks associated with online dating. It's essential to understand and have the ability to quickly identify online dating scams, as you'll want to immediately disconnect from the fake profile.

2. Conduct Thorough Background Checks

At no point can you be too safe. Conducting a thorough background check might come off as being too protective, but there is no such thing. You can never overprotect yourself from financial risk. 

Obtaining a background check helps you verify the identity of the person you're connecting with. A background check isn't exclusive to requesting a criminal history report; it can also be as simple as requesting a video call to confirm the person you see on your dating profile is the person with which you have been communicating.

Another way to conduct a background check is to research their background. In today's society, there is a lot a Google search can provide you. Use social media and Google to verify the person you're talking to. You could even reverse search for the person's profile pic to see if any additional accounts appear.

3. Beware of Red Flags

Sometimes, our intuition will alert us to red flags, and sometimes, it's more obvious to spot issues. Recognizing potential red flags is vital component to maintaining financial safety in online dating. 

Examples of red flags include someone who professes their love to you way sooner than they should. If someone is admitting to loving you days after meeting, then they probably are trying to get you emotionally attached as a romance scam. Also, please pay attention to their stories. If you find inconsistencies in what they tell you, that could be an additional red flag.

4. Protect Personal and Financial Information

Keeping your personal and financial information secure is a critical aspect of protecting yourself from scams. Avoid sharing any personal data or sensitive financial information with them. Also, generate a strong password to use on your dating profiles to prevent any hackers. Also, using a multi-factor authentication tool can be beneficial as well. 

5. Report Suspicious Activity

Let's say you've already detected an online dating scammer. Don't just block them, report the dating scammer. Many online platforms provide customer support. This is an excellent tool for you to use to report a scam. The site can shut down the scammer's account and prevent them from fraudulently pursuing other users who might not know they're being scammed.  

It's also important to report the scammer to the police. Law enforcement agencies have tricks and tools to help track these scammers, so this doesn't happen to anyone else. 

Online dating can be a rewarding experience when approached with caution and a sharp awareness of potential financial risks. By recognizing the red flags, conducting thorough background checks, and protecting your personal and financial information, you can enhance your safety and enjoy the benefits of online dating without falling victim to scams. 

Aventa wants to wish you all a safe and loving Valentine's Day but stay protected and cyberaware.