While there are many respectable and reliable e-dating
services, singletons should be extremely careful when choosing the Web site
through which they will plead their hearts’ story. Ideally, before subscribing
to such a service, users should scrutinize for testimonials and Web site
reviews, both on the Internet and in the printed media. Also, the advice of a trustworthy
person or of someone who has already used the service could help them when making
a decision. Under no circumstance one should anyone subscribe to a dating
service discovered via spam e-mails as this is one sure way to becoming the
victim of ID theft or receiving even more spam.
“Surfing the Web in
the search of the perfect match for Valentine’s Day can be a relaxing and enjoyable
experience, but it could also turn into a nightmare due to cybercriminals
looking to intercept Cupid’s electronic arrows.” said Alexandru Catalin
Cosoi, Senior AntiSpam and AntiPhishing Researcher.
On-line daters should also read with a great deal of
the kind of data the service collects about its users and if the personal
profile will be disclosed to third parties or employed for other purposes,
namely advertising or listing in different directories. Ideally, the Web site should
explicitly state that it protects anonymity and that no private information
would be revealed unless the users choose to do so.
Users should provide as little personal details as possible
and employ nicknames or aliases as user names, instead of their real names. If
possible, they should create and use an alternative e-mail account, instead of
the current personal or job’s account, to protect their identity, as well as to
avoid spam and malware.
When subscribing, but also when posting messages on-line
love birds should avoid revealing sensitive private data, namely their home or
work address, phone number, Social Security Number, etc.
“Even the most trivial
information (mother’s maiden name, pet’s name and so on) can be exploited by criminals.
Some of these details serve as password recovery hints for e-mail addresses or
on-line banking accounst. We strongly recommend on-line daters to never share
financial data, such as bank accounts, credit card numbers, PINs” added
Alexandru Catalin Cosoi, Senior AntiSpam and AntiPhishing Researcher.
Users should also watch out and never respond to requests or
click links from people claiming to represent charity causes or advertising
goods and services – many e-criminals employ on-line dating sites to trick users
into giving them money or downloading camouflaged malware.
Last but not least, if users feel uncomfortable or threatened
by someone’s e-behavior, they should stop any interaction with that person and
report the abuse.