CRANSTON. R.I. (WJAR) — Love is in the air, but don't let your desire for companionship blind you to scams.
Every year, victims report losing hundreds of millions of dollars to scammers who want to dupe you into believing they're your soulmate.
Mark Kapcynski, senior vice president of partnerships at OneRep, a privacy protection company, told NBC 10 that we often make ourselves a target by revealing too much personal information online.
“What kind of information are scammers looking for that you may have out there that you don't know about? What should we be cleaning up on the internet?” asked NBC 10’s Emily Volz.
“Well the first thing is just do a Google search for yourself, and what we always recommend people do is do it in what's called incognito mode,” explained Kapcynski. “So you're actually doing a search the way someone else would search for you.”
“What you'll probably sadly find is that a lot of the results about you are from these sites known as people search websites, and frankly they're all scams – these are all bad actors, they're just trying to make a buck off your information," he added.
Kapcynski told NBC 10 you can, however, use those sites to your advantage.
Look up everyone you chat with, and do a reverse image search of their photos on Google.
Kapcynski said you should also be leery of anyone who asks you for money, no matter how long you've been talking.
“Anyone asking you for money early, or throughout just the early process of dating -- massive red flag,” he explained. “Like no one that truly is your soulmate is just going to be asking you for money right away.”
Bottom line –-- keep your guard up with anyone you meet online, as unromantic as that sounds.
Kapcynski also suggests signing up for dating sites with a burner email address, and don't give out your last name or city, at least not at the beginning.