Thousands of men and women meet online daily. While online dating has expanded the dating universe like never before; a few bad guys fly under the radar and try to scam innocent people.

While scams asking for money are more common in online dating, you should be aware of other fraudulent practices such as identity theft.

Identity Theft Warning Signs


Identity theft occurs when someone steals or attempts to steal your identity and uses this personal information and details such as bank account details, social security or tax file numbers, credit card details or any other financial account information to fraudulently pose as the victim, usually for financial benefits.

Types and examples of identity theft

  • True name identity fraud occurs when the thief uses your stolen information to open new accounts.
  • Account takeover means the imposter uses your information to gain access to your existing accounts.

What are the Identity Theft Warning Signs?

  • Unusual activity on your credit report
  • Missing bills and statements
  • Emails or texts asking for sensitive information
  • Calls from creditors about accounts you never opened or loans you never applied for


The identity thief uses the victim’s identity for personal gain and this leads to identity fraud. They make use of personal information such as bank account details, social security or tax file numbers, credit card details or any other financial account information for their personal benefit. They can get hold of this information through various online and offline methods.

  • Phishing – They send emails or pop-up messages, pretending to be your financial institution to get you to reveal your personal details.
  • Pretending – Once they obtain your personal email address or phone number, again they pretend to be your financial institution to get a hold of your information.
  • Changing Your Address – If they know your home address, they can change the address and divert your bills and bank statements to a different address.

In the offline world, some identity thieves resort to literally stealing your information.

  • Stealing – They steal wallets, credit cards, mail from mail boxes, pre-approved credit offers etc. At the corporate level, they even target companies and steal personnel information from their databases.
  • Dumpster Diving – They rummage through the rubbish to look for identifying information or bills they can use.
  • Shoulder Surfing – It is a form of data theft where the thief observes you fill out personal information on a form or convey it over the telephone.
  • Cloning Credit Card Information – this where your credit card info is obtained by swiping it through a device that copies the magnetic strip information. This information is then copied onto a bogus card that can be used for purchases.


Here’s how to help protect against identity theft from happening:

  • Guard your numbers. Your credit and debit card numbers, driver’s license number, Pins. Share these numbers only when absolutely necessary, and only when there’s a legitimate reason to provide them. It’s a good idea to memorize your important numbers and never leave them in plain view of someone else.
  • Avoid public Wi-Fi. Public Wi-Fi networks are not secured. That means, someone can intercept what you’re looking at on the web E.g. your email, browsing history and passwords. It’s always smart to use a virtual private network that  creates an encrypted connection between your computer and the VPN server as most hackers are looking for an easy target  with a  VPN you are less likely to be a target.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings. Look around to make sure someone isn’t glancing over your shoulder while you enter your PIN number at an ATM or key in personal information into your cell phone. Also do not give your credit card number over the phone if someone is within listening distance.
  • Do not post or share any personal information and details with anyone or respond to unsolicited questions ;Identity thieves can obtain details from your life that could help answer security questions on websites—like, “Where were your born?” or “What’s your favorite food?”.
  • Keep personal information in a safe place. Your information could easily be stolen by be a friend, or a friend of a friend, or an out-of-town guest.
  • Always shred documents that contain personal information. Do not throw away personal documents in the trash, where someone could retrieve them.
  • Protect your computer from malicious software (malware) E.g. computer viruses and spyware. Always have a security software from a reputable company installed, keep all your software programs up to date and back up your information in case a hacker corrupts your computer.
  • Update Virus Software — Make sure your computers have the latest software available to identify and deal with computer-driven viruses.
  • Get savvy about online scams. So that you are not tricked into clicking on links that install malware on your computer. Stick with reputable websites. Never click on a links or an attachment from someone you don’t know.
  • Keep track of your credit history. Get your Credit Report once every four months and inspect them carefully, looking for suspicious activity.
  • Use strong passwords on all your devices. Use separate passwords for all your devices, including computer, tablet, and cellphone. Never share your password with someone else. And remember to change it periodically.
  • Mind your bank cards. Notify your bank or Credit Card Company if you misplace your credit or ATM card.
  • Old Technology Disposal — be careful when disposing of your old computers and mobile devices. Ensure that they do not have any personal information.
  • Security Freeze/Fraud Alert — to combat concerns about your information being too accessible, you can put a security freeze or fraud alert on your credit report. A security freeze locks out everyone from


A victim of identity theft can take a while to notice something is wrong, if you think you are a victim of identity theft/ fraud, you must get help immediately.

  • File a police report.
  • Immediately notify creditors.
  • Dispute unauthorized transactions and doing so will help restore your name and credit report.
  • Set up a fraud alert on your credit report to prevent the thief from opening further accounts
  • Close the accounts that have been tampered with
  • In addition, take a look at the links below for detailed information about identity theft and fraud.


More Information
Identity Theft and Fraud Legislation