Love is in the air, and in the news again, as it is revealed that crooks can extract valuable personal information by exploiting our amorous desires.

by Simon Kelman

Every year more singletons turn to the internet to find their perfect match. Whilst this can be a great way to find true love, you also need to be on the lookout for fraudsters trying to win your affections for nefarious reasons.

This Valentine’s Day, the clever folks at NatWest bank teamed up with psychologist Jo Hemmings to conduct an experiment and inserted a couple of actors into a real-life speed dating event. Using some seemingly innocuous questioning, and a few cheeky smiles, the actors were able to illicit some key pieces of information such as the names of pets, mother's maiden name and the town in which people were born, all of which are high on fraudsters’ wish lists to commit identity theft.

You can watch the fascinating video here. 

Romance scams are now some of the most common scams with most using online dating platforms to target multiple victims at once. NatWest has highlighted how vulnerable people are face-to-face in giving out sensitive information but daters also need to remain vigilant online too.

HooYu is the first identity confirmation service anyone can use to confirm a person’s identity in real time. It is simple to use and quickly gives dater or anyone who is nervous about dealing with someone they have never met the confidence and reassurance they require.

Here’s some HooYu top tips for staying safe online:

Top Tips

- Don’t share too, much too soon. Always be careful with the information you are sharing online especially with someone you’ve not met. As NatWest’s video shows even the smallest detail can help a fraudster. 

- Never send money or give credit card or online account details to anyone you’ve only met online.

- Trust your instincts, if something doesn’t feel right make sure they are genuine with a HooYu check.

Romance fraud is not the only form of digital fraud to be on the lookout for, from email scams to text message phishing there are lots of reasons to stay vigilant.

As always if you have any doubts you can use HooYu to confirm who you are dealing with is who they say they are. It is fast and simple to confirm an identity just visit HooYu.com. Once you have input a couple of details, the person you’re dealing with receives your request with your personal message and they use their phone or webcam to take a selfie, take a photo of their passport or driving licence and share their online identity such as their Facebook name or their Amazon account. Thirdly, we crunch all the data to make sure that there is a real person behind their online identity, we check that they have provided a legitimate ID document and that this matches to their selfie and we give you the thumbs up that they are who they say they are.

Simon Kelman