Risk Solutions

HSB WHISTLESTOP

For Agents & Brokers

ID thieves steal more than hearts

Dating sites may expose unwary partners

Increasingly, Americans use online dating services to seek romance, but they should be cautious, or they could find themselves the victim of identity theft and fraud.

A romance or rip-off?

Online dating sites, social networking sites and chat rooms can be the target of imposters and con artists, security experts warn. In addition to identity theft and fraud, consumers can be the victim of spam e-mails, malware, online phishing and computer hacking.

Beware online predators

Although millions of people use dating sites and social media to form successful relationships, scammers also use the sites to meet potential victims. They create phony profiles and build trust, so people send money, some even making wedding plans before they disappear with the cash, the Federal Trade Commission reports.

In the “name” of love

In some cases, identity thieves persuade or trick people into revealing their Social Security number, bank routing number, or other personal data, which they use to obtain credit cards, take out loans, acquire medical care, or get a driver’s license in the victim’s name.

Private data sold or stolen

Security specialists say the threat of fraud is growing for online dating sites and social media. Some firms are questioning the information security practices of many online dating sites, claiming that private client information may be exposed on the Internet, or sold to marketers and other commercial interests.

Use caution and common sense

When dating online, use caution and common sense when asked to provide personal information by dating sites or people you don’t know. The experts recommend you limit personal data, don’t give out your home address or phone number, use encryption technology, and a disposable e-mail address. Never provide private data to a stranger.

Where to get help

If you think you are the victim of identity theft, get help immediately. The FTC is a good source of information about how to help avoid and respond to identity theft and fraud. You also can search the Internet for “online dating security” and find many useful tips — many suggestions from the online dating services themselves.

HSB offers insurance coverage

HSB’s Identity Recovery insurance program provides coverage and services for ID theft and fraud for more than five million people. In addition to out-of-pocket expenses, our coverage can provide restoration services such as case management for identity fraud victims and can include fraud coverage for ID theft and a range of consumer fraud.

It’s easy and affordable protection

Our program is affordable and easy to add to business insurance policies. For more information about HSB’s Identity Recovery coverage, contact your HSB representative.