“They profess their love, but they’re preying on your pocketbook”
By Neeraj Bhushan
Are you being seduced by strangers! Beware. You might soon become a victim of financial fraud. Out of the many online dating dangers, romance on Internet is the latest – via chats, emails, and even SMSes. Phone calls are already a big big scam.
In the newest designs, such ‘loving’ strangers may profess their love to you. But in all practicality, they have their balls on your pockets. Recent trends show that women are becoming more vulnerable to the financial frauds, in the name of dating.
Mollie Halpern of the Federal Bureau of Investigation says the so-called sweetheart scammers seduce those looking for love on singles sites. “Victims believe they’re in a relationship, but their suitor is actually a scammer who breaks hearts—and bank accounts,” he says.
The Assistant Section Chief of FBI’s Cyber Division, Nickolas Savage, also has a word of caution – “If somebody is asking you for money, just be very cautious. Chances are it’s a scam.”
It has been estimated that the average financial loss per victim is between $15,000 to $20,000; and if I were to recommend you, I would say the most important take-away is that you should stick to only legitimate sites. If you are actually looking for online dating; and never ever chat with strangers or pass on any information that is private.
Also, if you are sent, shown, made to click any seductive image or video, think twice or else you will soon be a victim of cyber attack.
‘Loving’ strangers are always clueless, without any hints. Save yourself from them, save your money by also avoiding the spammers who are now flooding the internet with interesting quotes, pictures and requesting you to put a particular status message on your social networks like Facebook. Such viral trends should rather alarm you.
Be smart and stay secure on the net, at least after knowing that, in a latest, the password of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was hacked. Oh, his password, then, was too simple – 12345.
Hope you have not chosen some of the worst passwords such as above. If yes, you can hope to be an easy target for hackers. Interestingly, password management application provider Splash Data says in its annual list of worst internet passwords, that some common passwords are – “ Password”, with a numeral zero, sequences of adjacent numbers or letters on the keyboard, such as “qwerty” and “123456”.
It will be even harder for you to explain and regret if you have chosen the name of your spouse or loved ones or your date of birth or any number that is close to you, like telephone or mobile or vehicle etc, to be your password.
Remember – Vary different types of characters in your passwords; include numbers, letters and special characters when possible. Also, choose passwords of eight characters or more and separate them with underscores. Most importantly, don’t use the same password and username combination for multiple websites. Yes, you can stay secure.
Just stay alert, cautious, smart and secure and away from a wild world. Don’t blindly click links that you see online — on email, searches or networking sites. You must also raise eyebrows when you get directed to an altogether unexpected site that you didn’t intend to visit.
You can also go through this circular issued by India’s Department of Science and Technology that seems handy, wherein the government has issued IT security guidelines. It can be accessed here in a pdf file.
In the meantime, I will keep wishing that may you not win just any online lottery or may your email not win the best email id award. All such schemes or information are fraud too. Don’t believe any large sums of money will come flowing to you just like that. Money has to be earned, Love is to be earned.