Safelutions News and Safety Advice

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MTV’s popular show “Catfish: The TV show” seeks to uncover the true identity of people in online relationships.

Phishing is the attempt to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.

Catfishing is pretending to be someone you’re not online by posting false information, such as someone else’s pictures, on social media sites usually with the intention of getting someone to fall in love with you.

MTV’s show reveals participants who lied about their identity and then tells how these lies stemmed from boredom and loneliness. In fact, 81% of people lie in their online dating profiles and we all have our own stories about being lied to online. While it may seem to be simple entertainment, the consequences of “Catfishing” extend beyond broken hearts. Online deceit results in millions of dollars’ worth of fraud and identity theft each year. Here are 3 quick tips to protect yourself online:

         1-Be suspicious of people who have an “Emergency”

People who seek to steal your money online almost always use a fictitious “Emergency” to create a sense of urgency, fear and sympathy from their victims. They have recently been injured in a catastrophic accident and become unable to work. Or, maybe they are military members needing to get home to their loved ones but can’t because they were pickpocketed in a foreign country. The stories are endless but you should always be leery of the “crisis” that caused the scammer to need your assistance.

          2-Never send money to anyone you have not met in person

Chances are you would never hand over $3,000 to someone you met standing outside of a local supermarket so why send cash to someone you can’t even see? Scammers may say they love you or threaten your safety if you don’t pay, but chances are neither is true. Share the dialogue with someone you trust and get their opinion. If the story starts to sound “phishy” when you repeat it to someone else, cut the line and swim away!

            3-Do not reveal personal information

Whether online or over the phone, be cautious about revealing personal information. If someone calls or starts an online chat with questions about your identity, address, bank information etc., get your guard up. We recommend you always have the person tell you the information they seek to “confirm” and then you decide whether to acknowledge its accuracy or not.

Regardless of the situation (online dating, credit applications or friendly chats) be protective of yourself, your assets and your information. If you’ve already gotten involved and want some peace of mind about the person’s true identity or if you wish to check someone’s identity before getting involved, call us. Safelutions specializes in verifying identities and spotting scammers. Put us to work for you and never get hooked again.