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Press Release: KIPICI WARNS OF “SWEETHEART SWINDLERS” DURING THE VALENTINE’S SEASON

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Kipici WARNS of “sweetheart swindlers” during the valentine’s season

New Brunswick, February 2, 2011: Dating site www.Kipici.com has warned that January and February are prime time for scammers to appear in the online dating world and has asked the public to be cautious when communicating with new people online. Scam artists use an arsenal of emotional weaponry to prey on kind-hearted singles looking for love. These include attractive photos, sad stories, aliases, and sucker lists they share with fellow scammers.

“If you are looking for love, online dating services are a great option but be sure to take precautions to protect yourself,” says Theresa Williams, CEO of Kipici.com. “First, ensure that the dating services you choose have the proper security mechanisms in place before you sign up and possibly expose your personal information. Scammers and hackers are very smart and believable!”

Williams recently attended the iDate2011 conference in Miami, which was also attended by Markus Frind, Founder of PlentyofFish.com. While there, Markus was trying to resolve a hacking problem in which hackers had infiltrated his password system and stolen 345 user accounts. (Source: http://www.informationweek.com) “Although I agree with the critics that Markus should have had encrypted passwords in place, I applaud his ability to quickly shut down the attack. It is unacceptable for even one user account to be stolen, but considering PoF has 30 million members, it could have been drastically worse. As owners of a dating site, we must do our best to protect our members’ privacy,” says Williams.

Combating Dating Fraud was a key topic at the iDate2011 conference, with guest speakers from the Attorney General’s Office, The National Consumers’ League, and the National Cyber Forensics Training Alliance. “The message was loud and clear; they were reaching out to ask us to help spread the word so we could protect our valuable members and the public from fraud. With claims sometimes in the six-figure bracket, we are happy to champion the cause here in Canada.”

Statistics from the National Consumer League show that the average US dating scam in 2010 was for $7,133, with the highest individual loss reported as $114,000. Romance scams are the 9th most reported online scam but are the 7th most reported online scam among people over fifty. The average age of scam victims is 51.

To protect yourself, ensure your dating service provider uses email verification and encrypted passwords, doesn’t email your passwords to your email account, and has a secure socket payment connection. Because many free sites don’t have the financial resources, they may not be able to implement appropriate security measures, and therefore are prime targets for scammers. So, select your provider carefully.

You can also protect yourself by recognizing common scammer behavior:

· Some scammers pretend to be military personnel deployed overseas.

· Scammers quickly try to get you off the dating site as soon as possible because they know these sites monitor their behavior and they don’t want to leave a trace.

· Scammers are more highly concentrated in countries such as Russia, Nigeria, and other countries in West Africa.

· Scammers look for shipment mules. Always be wary of someone who wants you to forward a shipment overseas. The parcel could be stolen and you could then become liable.

· Scammers love wire transfers. They may ask you to send them money because they feel they’ve hit on hard times or need a plane ticket to come see you.

If you suspect you or someone you know has been a victim of online dating scams or you want to know more about the topic, here are some sites that could help you:

· www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca

· www.ic3.gov

· www.ftc.gov

· www.fraud.org

· www.romancescam.com

 


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