How Online Dating Can Lead to Identity Theft

Alayna Okerlund

Last Updated: October 31st, 2019

Maybe you recently broke up with someone or you were dumped. You're feeling emotionally vulnerable:

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After a while, you and your best friend decide that it’s time for you to get back into the dating game. So, you sign up for an online dating app:

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In the beginning, you start feeling super fly because of all the attention and matches you are getting:

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Finally, you decide to meet the special one that you’ve been messaging back and forth. Unfortunately, this person seems to be "in between jobs" right now, so funds are too tight to travel to meet you. Being the understanding person you are, you decide to send some money to help out:

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Once the money is received, your mystery crush is thrilled and you both bask in digital happiness. "So, when can we meet up?" you ask. Unfortunately, this time there's been a family emergency and the date is postponed. On the bright side, you have more time to get to know each other, so you spend the next two weeks talking all about your apartment, your family members and friends, your past birthday celebrations and age, your job, where you were born and where you grew up. You love feeling so close with such a good listener:

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Eventually, you feel so connected and comfortable that you decide to take the ultimate step of trust: you share your embarrassing driver’s license photo. It feels so amazing to finally have someone in your life who you feel safe with:
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Your birthday is coming up and your digital date wants to come see you and bring a gift. And what better way for this person to know just the right thing than by borrowing your Amazon account to see what's on your wish list. Of course you'll share your user name and password! You spend the next week in awe of your new love's thoughtfulness:

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Unfortunately, your online dreamboat texts to let you know that something's come up and it won't be possible to make it to your party. Ever the thoughtful one, your mystery love asks for your address. You just know you're going to be getting an extra special delivery to make up for all the missed dates. You know that when the two of you finally meet, it will be the beginning of a great love story:

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Unfortunately, your present seemed to have gotten lost in the mail. Shortly after your birthday, you get a message saying it would be a good idea to cool things down and see other people. Heartbreak Hotel? I need a room for one, please:

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Not long after your online love dumped you, you get several outrageous credit card bills in the mail. Confused, you decide to call your credit card company saying that you never made these purchases with your card. They tell you that you have also opened two other credit card accounts and have maxed out each account. You explain that you were not responsible for the charges, and you still have your credit card in your possession. Then you realize that you had connected your credit card to your Amazon account. The only other person who had access to your account was your online dating partner. You now realize why you never met in person, why there were so many questions about your life, etc. Once the realization hits, you feel like a fool:

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After the grief and anger pass, you decide to learn more about identity theft and its many forms. You hire a professional identity protection service, obtain protective software, and try to take as many preventative steps as you can to avoid this from ever happening again:

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