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'Search for love online leads to fraud'

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  21 May 2015 12:00 AM GMT

New York, May 20: If you think the internet could provide relief to your lovelorn heart, beware! The individual at the other end could be a con, the FBI reported in a survey of computer crime. Last year, the total fincial losses in the US due to online fraud reported to the government was to the tune of $800 million, the Internet Crime Complaint Center, or IC3, said in its annual online fraud report.

But authorities worry that this is just a fraction of the actual amount people may have been robbed of during 2014 as most cases go unreported. People who surfed the net in search of love were mostly at the receiving end of the internet fraud. Women, especially, were soft targets for cons.

The worst schemes involve scammers — masquerading as military personnel — pretending to seek love online, IC3 said.

The tiol White Collar Crime Center, which coordites IC3 with FBI, said online fraud is actually estimated to cost residents and businesses more than $3.5 billion a year, NBCnews.com reported.

In 2014, people who over-shared on Facebook and other social media sites became the most common victims of cybercreeps, the report added. “Crimils search dating websites, chat rooms, and social media websites for persolly identifiable information, and use well-rehearsed scripts to attract potential victims,” it said.

“Victims of these scams believe they are in a relationship with someone who is honest and trustworthy without meeting them in person.” IC3 offered several tips for flushing out suspicious schemes:

— Do not respond to any unsolicited email, phone call or mail requesting your persol information.

— Do not fill out forms in email messages asking for persol information.

— Do not click on email links. Instead, go to the official website of the business or group and start from there.

— Maintain at least two email addresses - one for people you know and one for all other purposes.

— Do not engage in business with people or companies that operate only from a post office box address.

— If someone you have never met tells you he or she loves you but needs money to visit you, do not buy it. (IANS)

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