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Shield your heart and identity from sweetheart scammers

           Shield your heart and identity from sweetheart scammers

Experian's ProtectMyID® offers timely tips for safer online dating

PR Newswire

COSTA MESA, Calif., Jan. 30, 2013

COSTA MESA, Calif., Jan. 30, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --There's more to worry about
this Valentine's Day than the possibility of a lonely or broken heart.
Experian's ProtectMyID.com^®, a multilayered identity theft detection,
protection and fraud resolution product, offers insights into how to safeguard
against con artists looking to steal identities and money from people seeking
to make a love connection.

There are a variety of ways thieves try to capitalize on a person's trusting
nature, including preying on lonely hearts. The Federal Bureau of
Investigation and online identity theft advocacy organizations are warning
those who use online dating sites to watch out for "sweetheart scammers" who
swindle money or bank account information from online daters.

A "sweetheart scammer" usually begins with a fake profile designed to match a
certain type of person: employed, affluent and trusting. The profile is
designed to seem perfect in every way, even down to the same likes and
dislikes as the target. Once the target reciprocates and trust has been
established, the scam usually escalates to the thief's unveiling of a problem
involving money. Typical scenarios include the request for funds to be able to
travel to meet the target or to help the thief's sick relative.

"Individuals trying to establish a relationship through online dating services
and social communities are prime targets for identity thieves who know how to
prey upon the vulnerabilities of those seeking relationships," said Ken
Chaplin, senior vice president for Experian's ProtectMyID. "Taking the time
and effort to safeguard personal information and to look for warning signs can
make all the difference in protecting yourself."

Results from a past survey commissioned by ProtectMyID determined that a high
percentage of individuals participating in online dating fail to properly
scrutinize potential matches prior to engaging in communication. Furthermore,
many compound this issue by divulging too much personal information at a very
early stage. From birth dates and addresses to phone numbers and even bank
account details, the flow of information is alarmingly high in the online
dating world.[1]

ProtectMyID reminds people that they can take precautionary steps and spot a
scam before romance fades into financial and identity fraud:

  oProfiles should tease, not disclose everything. Don't disclose personally
    identifiable information with a prospective dating match until there is an
    established level of familiarity and trust. This also includes your
    hometown, home addresses, work specifics, phone numbers, educational
    background and information about children via profiles and through photo
    identification.
  oKeep the details close to the heart. Avoid posting personally identifiable
    information on your online dating profiles, including but not limited to
    hometown, home addresses, work specifics, phone numbers, educational
    background and information about children via profiles and through photo
    identification.
  oCupid isn't always right. Don't assume that a prospective dating match
    always will be truthful. Ask a person to tell you about himself or
    herself; you then can conduct a little background work on websites and see
    if conflicting information exists. Also, be wary of any requests for
    financial loans or assistance of any kind.
  oCreate the perfect password. For online dating profiles, do not use
    passwords that incorporate publicly known information.

Even though Valentine's season is the time to be on high alert for possible
sweetheart scams, it's important to realize this is a year-round issue. The
Identity Theft Resource Center^® confirms that they receive calls from people
who have been swindled by sweetheart scammers throughout the year.

"With Valentine's Day around the corner, we are reminded that this holiday
isn't always chocolate and roses for everyone," said Eva Casey Velasquez,
president of the Identity Theft Resource Center. "While sweetheart scammers
definitely operate all year long, they are particularly noticeable at a time
when everyone wants to celebrate romance. These scams are a double whammy for
the victim because they are affected both fiscally and emotionally.It's
important to remember to always make financial decisions with your head and
not your heart."

About Experian's ProtectMyID
ProtectMyID is a leading, full-service provider of identity theft detection,
protection and resolution. ProtectMyID offers comprehensive identity theft
protection products supported by experienced identity theft resolution
professionals who deliver personal attention that customers can rely on.
ProtectMyID is a Website owned by ConsumerInfo.com, Inc., an Experian company.
For more information about how ProtectMyID helps consumers protect themselves
against identity theft, please visit http://www.ProtectMyID.com.

About Experian
Experian is the leading global information services company, providing data
and analytical tools to clients around the world. The Group helps businesses
to manage credit risk, prevent fraud, target marketing offers and automate
decision making. Experian also helps individuals to check their credit report
and credit score, and protect against identity theft.

Experian plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and is a
constituent of the FTSE 100 index. Total revenue for the year ended 31 March
2012 was US$4.5 billion. Experian employs approximately 17,000 people in 44
countries and has its corporate headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, with
operational headquarters in Nottingham, UK; California, US; and São Paulo,
Brazil.

For more information, visit http://www.experianplc.com.

Experian and the Experian marks used herein are service marks or registered
trademarks of Experian Information Solutions, Inc. Other product and company
names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.

Contact:

Ann Noder
Pitch Public Relations
1 480 263 1557
ann@pitchpublicrelations.com

Becky Frost
Experian Consumer Services
1 949 202 7296
becky.frost@experianinteractive.com

SOURCE Experian’s ProtectMyID.com

Website: http://www.protectmyid.com/