Cyber criminals are hitting dating websites and apps hard, according to research, which revealed that almost half of all people who take part in online dating are being scammed or spammed.
This information comes from Symantec, a security firm from California, who conducted a survey to find out what happened to 3,000 people in Europe when they went online in the hopes of romance.
Symantec found that being tricked, blackmailed, or even subjected to revenge porn, were some of the ways daters became victims, often losing money to the criminals.
The criminals sometimes share lists too, indicating to others which people online are susceptible to scams.
The survey found that 48 per cent of respondents from the UK, Germany and France have received messages classed as spam or indicating a scam, and 32 per cent were asked for money from people they interacted with online.
Approximately 32 per cent received threats that personal images would be shared, with 11 per cent actually having their compromising content put online.
Of course, the majority of people will avoid such unpleasant experiences when they date online, but it is a timely reminder, with Valentine’s Day fast approaching, to remain wary of people you talk to online without seeing them properly.
It is recommended to use a separate email address for online dating than for your personal or work uses, stick to reputable sites and apps, and be sceptical about links and requests for financial help.
“The actual number of people being conned is relatively small, but you have to be aware of it,” said Tony Neate, of the Get Safe Online campaign.
“Often the big thing is not the loss of money, it’s the loss of personal worth and the effect on their family.”