It’s a battlefield out there, not only do we have the responsibility and challenge of trying to find the love of our life whilst dodging cheesy pick- up lines and trying to decide if they really do look like their photo ( !?) … but we also need to be aware of not being sideswiped by cyber trolls along the way . Online dating sites and apps have become all the rage, because not only do they give us a portal to literally hundreds of future prospects, they are also convenient, and a sure way to secure a date for your Friday night.
Unfortunately they have become a new avenue for scammers, identity thieves and cyber bullies to reach us and prey upon our hopeful and vulnerable hearts. It’s sad to know that certain people will fabricate a profile and spin you a romantic line or two to slowly pull you in with false pretentions only to then hack into your account and steal all your hard earned shopping money! The only thing worse than having your personal details compromised is being bullied to such a point that you lose your self-value and confidence or perhaps even fear for your safety.
Whilst this might seem a little extreme, the <strong><u>ACORN (Australian Cybercrime online Reporting Network) </u></strong>which is a government funded initiative, deals with literally with thousands of cases of identity theft, scams and cyber bullies every year costing the Australian Government billions of dollars! So needless to say this is a serious issue that needs some detailed attention so that we can catch the villains and get back to finding Prince Charming. Here’s 5 ways in which to protect yourself from such situations whilst using online dating site:
<strong>1: Use trusted and professional sites only.</strong>
It’s true that hackers ,hijackers and horrible people can work through any website, but if you are joining a trusted online community you not only have less risk but you also have more support and information from the actual website/company itself. Sites that require a person to pay to initiate contact like <a href=”http://www.rsvp.com.au”>www.rsvp.com.au</a> usually lowers the chances of being targeted by a scammer. Bullies however will stop at nothing ,so just a simple report to the police or ACORN site can fix that!
<strong>2: Never give out your personal details.</strong>
I know that we can get caught up in the moment and perhaps do a bit of an overshare because we feel we can really trust this stranger whom we have never met, but the reality is until you have actually conversed extensively with your new found love in person, and are able to judge their true character, you should be keeping your heart , head and bank statements guarded.
<strong>3: Get savvy!</strong>
This means being consciously aware of the real threats out there and knowing what your rights are. Whether its identity theft or emotional abuse, there are ways you can protect yourself from such situations. The following link gives you a good set of rules to run by: <a href=”http://www.acorn.gov.au/faq/”>http://www.acorn.gov.au/faq/</a> and if you really are unsure about a certain someone, then get a second opinion!
<strong>4: Use the ACORN website. </strong>
Arm yourself with the best tools, and get to know how to practically protect yourself from becoming a target or worse a victim! The ACORN site allows members of the public to easily report instances of cybercrime and access information so they can take better steps to defending themselves online. Not only does this website provide support and advice but it also an avenue to bring awareness to the public and if need be the police.
<strong>5: Trust your instincts.</strong>
General rule of thumb: If it sounds too good to be true than it usually is. It doesn’t mean we have to turn into cold hearted cynicals and insist on a 10 page character reference (!); just be aware that such predators are out there. If someone is asking you for information that is just beyond unrelated, or if they are asking for money etc., then it’s pretty obvious you can smell a rat. An honest person will be asking you what your favourite colour or food is, not what your mailing address and credit card number is.
Dating is meant to be fun, adventurous and romantic so let’s all work together to weed out the bad ones and make room for the decent suitors out there.
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