Online tips for finding that special someone

It's Valentine's Day and online dating websites can connect singles with that special someone.

But if you aren't careful, you can be scammed into a love trap while on these sites. Here are some tips to make sure your online Valentine is real and not a scammer.

Norton Internet Safety Advocate Marian Merritt offers this advice:

1.         Until trust has been established, guard your heart. Never reveal personal data to someone until you meet face-to-face and are certain you can trust them. Don't provide your full address when the city will suffice or a last name when an initial works fine.

2.         Do your dating due diligence. Use search engines to make sure potential dates are who they say they are. Even a search with no results can often be a clue that the person isn't being entirely honest.

3.         Hold your websites to a high standard. Just like you hold your dates to high standards, do the same for the websites you visit - stick to sites that are reputable and look for a green check mark next to the name (before you click on it) to verify that it is secured. Also, the letters "HTTPS" in the address bar shows that the form or page you are on is secure to send private information.

4.         Beware of love apps and other mobile dangers. Free mobile offers like compatibility tests or SMS messages with your dating horoscope may seem like a fun way to pass the time, until you discover the hidden fees. These services can also mask aggressive ad networks, known as "madware," which sell your private data and also bombard you with promotions like an unwelcome stalker.

5.         Love is a battlefield; arm yourself appropriately. As the first line of defense against online scams, use security software, such as Norton 360 Multi-Device, which is a single solution to protect all your devices. Cybercriminals are more sophisticated than ever and they'll jump on any social trend, like online dating, to spread malware and steal your personal details.

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