What you need to know before you can safely date online

Sarah Carty

A leading internet security expert has revealed exactly what you need to know before you start online dating.

Last year, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission announced that 2,620 Australians reported losing almost $23 million to dating and romance scams.

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And with dating apps like Hinge relaunching and security catastrophes like the Ashley Maddison scandal occurring, there's some simple steps people should be taking to find love in a safe way.

Australians reported losing $23 million in online dating scams in 2015. Photo: Getty

Be spoke with Nick FitzGerald, Senior Research Fellow at Antivirus Software, Virus Protection and Internet Security company ESET Australia to find out what the telltale sings are that you are being scammed online and how you can prevent it from happening to you.

Treat any dating mobile app as you would your Facebook profile

Make sure you only display the information you would like to share. As a general rule, it’s best to avoid revealing addresses and full birth dates. Remember to adjust your security settings so your profile is only accessible to those you trust.

Quickly recognise signs of fake or scam profiles

This could be people contacting you straight away or unrealistic pictures that may have been taken straight from Google Images, people declaring their love early and before meeting. All of these could be bots or scammers looking to get your personal information. If you are not sure, a Google search of their profile and comments can go a long way.

This is what your need to know before you start online dating. Photo: Getty.

Know when you are being scammed

Picture or file downloads could contain hidden malware. People saying they are in distress and needing money to be sent is a classic dating scam.

Don’t fall for unrealistic stories involving sending money online to overseas accounts.

Being aware of these signs is the first step in stopping scammers. If you suspect a scammer, don’t hesitate to report their profile to the app owners and developers straightaway.

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