Spike in online dating after Valentine's Day; But be warned

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by Carey Peña

Bio | Email | Follow: @careypenatv

azfamily.com

Posted on February 15, 2013 at 7:51 PM

Updated Saturday, Feb 16 at 4:04 PM

PHOENIX -- In today's ever connected world many people are turning to the Internet to find love.

One in five couples in the U.S. reports meeting online. But as the world of digital dating grows, so too do the warnings.

“I don’t have a lot of guys running their grocery carts into mine,” said Lisa Keiser. 

Keiser wanted to find love, so she turned to Match.com.

“He indicated he was in the US Army and stationed over in Afghanistan,” Keiser said while looking at pictures of her would-be Romeo.

Soon, she found out the person pursuing a relationship with her wasn’t the brave soldier she was falling for – rather, a scammer who was using his picture.

“We’ve just seen a lot of that the last couple of years because there are so many people serving abroad,” said attorney Eduard Goodman from Identity Theft 911.

Goodman told 3TV this is the number one scam they are hearing about right now: People posing as members of the military and trolling dating sites.

It’s not only a problem on Valentine’s Day.  Experts say they see a huge spike in online dating in the days and weeks following February 14.  

Goodman says it’s always important to watch for red flags if you are dating online:

(1)   If they don’t want to see you in person or make excuses why they can’t.

(2)   If they ask you to participate in a business venture or ask you for money.

(3)   If you are asked for too much personal information – especially your date of birth.

“You want to give enough information, obviously, because you are trying to meet folks. But it’s a real fine line," Goodman said.

The team at Identity Theft 911 did some investigating to find which of the top dating sites do the best job protecting personal information. 

Goodman said Christian Singles and E-Harmony scored high because they have up-to-date privacy policies and are Truste certified.  

But Goodman warns, no matter how safe the site, people need to always be on-guard and protective of their personal information and safety.

Keiser got wise to what was going on when the scammer started asking for too much information, and she quickly pulled the plug.

And while her story serves as a warning, it is important to point out that there are many online happily ever-afters.

In fact, Goodman met his wife through the matchmaking website J-Date.

He said he was sick and fed up with the bar scene and meeting the wrong people.  So, he took a chance. 

“On a dare my brother and sister said give it a try," he explained.

Two kids and twelve years later, Goodman and his wife are still going strong.

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