Connecting with Strangers Online is Dangerous … If You Don’t Check Them Out

Today we’re all doing business with and connecting with people online who we’ve never met in person. If you don’t check up on the person you’ll never know the truth about them, or if you can trust them.

The world is online. There are blogs, messages boards, and forums for every interest and hobby … for people interested in hotrods, cosmetics, model airplanes, old movies, sports, fountain pens, classic music – you name it and there’s a place online where groups of like-minded people are looking to connect. Throw in places like Reddit and Quora and the number of online groups people join skyrockets. There are roughly 1.7 billion websites on The Internet, 600 million blogs, in the United States there are 31.7 million bloggers. Every nook and cranny of The Internet is filled with communities – groups of like-minded people looking to connect. Strangers connecting to strangers. Wonderful? Maybe. But perhaps a little dangerous, too. And if you’re looking for romance online, you are truly in dangerous territory.


According to the New York Post, a survey of 2,000 Americans found the most common digital threat people have fallen victim to is some sort of scam. A close look at that statistic revealed these people have, unfortunately, been a victim of a scam, like falling for a romance request or transferring money to someone they’ve never met. Research from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) found that in a survey, over 80 percent of consumers reported losing money to online purchase scams last year. According to the FBI, these numbers will only continue to rise unless consumers are more cautious about their online shopping behavior.


More distressing news came from a survey by the research group FTI. It found that over 1 in 4 respondents have been defrauded of money by someone using a fraudulent or misleading profile, 3 in 10 have been hurt by someone using a fake profile, and nearly half have been tricked by a person’s profile.


So, how do you know if you can trust the person you’re trading emails and texts with? You absolutely need to see that person’s background report or Reputation Profile. If you’ve never ordered a background check before, there are many online providers to choose from. MyLife.com, for instance, is a reputable company that offers comprehensive Reputation Profiles on over 325 million Americans. These Reputation Profiles include everything you would expect to find on a background report plus a Reputation Score, and many include reviews written by people familiar with the person you’re checking on. Taking a quick minute to look someone up on MyLife is an important first step before buying something from them or meeting them in person. It can help you decide of the person is who they say they are.

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