Online Dating Privacy Dangers - NECN

Online Dating Privacy Dangers

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    Online dating privacy dangers

    Online dating is a popular way to meet new people, but also attract scam artists (Published Friday, Jan. 17, 2014)

    (NECN/KNSD: Bob Hansen) - Love doesn't always start with holding hands in the park. For many people, love is started on online dating websites.

    "You sign up, you pay a monthly fee," explained Kristen Skliba, who uses online dating services.

    Skliba decided she would try the online dating world and signed up for two popular sites.
    "There's a profile picture and then you can have up to 20 or 30 pictures of yourself."

    You can also write something about yourself -- your interests, religion, job, and hobbies -- and anyone can see it.

    "You don't know who is looking at your profile," said Skliba. "You don't know what that person is like or what kind of background they have."

    Most people looking at those dating websites are looking for someone who would be compatible, but there are also bad guys trolling those sites, looking for personal information to steal.

    "I would just be careful about divulging too much personal information without making that connection with someone first," said Amber Yoo.

    Yoo, with Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, said scam artists are trolling online dating sites looking for personal information.

    "When people give their information to a site with one intent in mind they might not anticipate other ways that data can be used," explained Yoo.

    "So he pulls up a profile and my pictures were now attached to a profile from somebody who was not me, with a description that was not mine at all," said Skliba.

    Four months after joining a dating website, Skliba found out that someone had stolen the pictures from her profile and used them for their own bogus site.

    "You know, screen shot, capture, save picture, i'm not sure how they took 'em but they had my face and they were using it."

    "They grab those photos, use it to start their own profile, which they will then use to lure a victim into eventually giving money to the scam artist," explained Yoo.

    Yoo said anyone thinking about using a dating website needs to limit what personal information they reveal. While the intent is to find someone they can share their life with, those sites can also create and unwanted connection to a crook.