Differentiate Between the Princes and Frogs of Online Dating this Valentine’s Day to Avoid Cybercrime
Posted February 11, 2014
ThreatMetrix Shares Strategies to Prevent Online Risks Associated with Valentine’s Day
San Jose, Calif. – January 11, 2014 – ThreatMetrix™, the fastest-growing provider of context-based authentication and advanced Web fraud prevention solutions, today announced several strategies for consumers to stay protected against online dating fraud and e-commerce risks leading up to Valentine’s Day.
Valentine’s Day is one of the top spending holidays each year. According to the National Retail Federation, total spending for the holiday is projected to reach $17.3 billion, with more than a quarter of Valentine’s Day purchases being made online. As with all major holidays, cybercriminals target peak online shopping periods to compromise consumers and businesses for personal profit.
“Around Valentine’s Day, consumers and retailers must take the same preventative measures as other peak shopping holidays including Black Friday and Cyber Monday,” said Alisdair Faulkner, chief products officer, ThreatMetrix. “Retailers must implement strategies to protect against malware attacks, account takeover and payment fraud. At the same time, consumers should only make purchases from legitimate e-commerce websites and refrain from using the same login information across websites.”
In addition to the cybercrime risks associated with online shopping, consumers must take caution when looking for love via online dating websites and mobile apps. The entire online dating industry results in approximately $2 billion in annual revenue and it is estimated that the U.S. online dating industry has 5.5 million active daily users.
Given how lucrative the online dating market is, cybercriminals have identified several sophisticated methods to compromise dating sites and innocent users. In fact, online romance scams cost victims a total of more than $50 million each year.
ThreatMetrix has identified the most effective preventative measures for consumers to avoid cybercrime leading up to Valentine’s Day and year round. These include:
• Be Wary of Red Flags in Dating Profiles – Cybercriminals often create fake profiles with fraudulent information to lure users into sharing personal information or wiring money. Red flags include a prospective date claiming to be an alumnus of an Ivy League school, yet he or she has poor grammar. Another warning sign is a dating match claiming to be located in another country, such as Nigeria, and asking the user to wire money for return travel.
• Download Mobile Apps From Legitimate Sources – Mobile dating revenue is projected to double over the next five years. With an ever increasing number of mobile dating applications, consumers should only download from official app stores to protect against cybercriminals compromising personal information or downloading malware onto mobile devices.
• Use Caution with Location-Based Mobile Apps – Many of today’s mobile dating apps are location-based, such as by city or state. Sharing one’s location offers fraudsters one piece of the puzzle towards compromising an identity. As more information, including telephone number and email address, is shared with the potential match, a fraudster can easily piece together this information to compromise the user’s online identity.
• Evaluate Privacy Policies – Thoroughly review the privacy policies for mobile apps and dating sites to ensure that data is encrypted to protect against breaches and not shared with third party sources, such as for marketing or sales purposes. Of particular concern are apps that don’t encrypt information in transit that can be easily intercepted on public Wi-Fi. Also, perform a Web search to see if the dating site of interest has experienced issues with cybercrime in the past.
“In the online dating world, nobody knows whether they are talking to Prince Charming or a ‘prince’ from a Nigerian dating scam,” said Faulkner. “Consumers must prioritize online security and privacy to protect their identities. In addition, consumers should not be hesitant to report a red flag or scam, which will help dating websites assure such instances will not happen again.”
Although consumers should exercise proper caution when dating online, the companies behind the websites and apps should ensure their products are designed to prevent cybercrime without hindering the user experience. By implementing frictionless two-factor and context-based authentication, businesses can detect suspicious account access attempts without disrupting the user experience.
To assure online dating profiles and mobile apps offer convenience, security and privacy protection, online dating providers can utilize a global data repository that can process transactions in real time and verify their authenticity against holistic user profiles. The ThreatMetrix™ Global Trust Intelligence Network is the most comprehensive global repository of identity and fraud data and protects hundreds of millions of users and data points each day from cybercrime. Its real-time analytics evaluate logins, payments, new account registrations and remote access attempts for validity to continuously build trust on the Internet.
ThreatMetrix secures Web transactions against account takeover, payment fraud, identity spoofing, malware, and data breaches. The ThreatMetrix Global Trust Intelligence Network, which analyzes 500 million monthly transactions, provides context-based authentication and Web fraud prevention to help companies accelerate revenue, reduce costs and eliminate friction. ThreatMetrix protects more than 160 million active user accounts, 2,500 customers and 10,000 websites across a variety of industries, including banking, enterprise, e-commerce, payments, social networks, government, and insurance. For more information, visit www.threatmetrix.com or call 1-408-200-5755.
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