What can you do to protect yourself from fraudsters looking to steal your online identity?“It is important to note that you cannot totally prevent this from happening, the only way to guarantee total immunity is not to use social media sites, or post content online,” says Dr Toogood.Also important is knowing the warning signs of potential scams once you start meeting people online.There’s no reason to avoid making the most of online connections and romance — just make sure you’re also avoiding any online dating scams along the way.Be aware that if you comment on a public page - a business page or celebrity profile, for instance, - then, at a minimum, your profile picture and cover photo will be accessible.However, while this is all well and good, Dr Toogood points out that even if you take all the above precautions, your 'friends' also need to be stringent, in order to mitigate your risks and protect your social media assets “; If you appear in an image on a timeline of one of your friends, this may be public or expose you to those who are not on your accepted friends list,” she explains. So someone based in London and using her image to attract men, made her feel deeply uncomfortable."I hate the thought of men looking at my picture and thinking I'm looking to hook up.
Social media websites change their privacy settings often, so make sure you keep an eye on all updates to policies - this is vital for protecting yourself.“It is a frightening reality that you can have your private photos, and other information, used and distributed without your knowledge or permission.The security issues surrounding this type of identity theft can be wide ranging.” Fake profiles on Tinder may appear harmless.Melanie is the Senior Director of Digital Marketing at Identity Force.She is responsible for driving forward-thinking identity protection marketing ideas to further build and maintain Identity Force’s strong company web presence, including embracing multi-channel platforms with a focus on creating meaningful experiences for Identity Force’s members.I contacted Tinder about Lana’s story to see if they would help find the fraudster behind the imposter accounts.“If someone is being impersonated on Tinder, they should contact Facebook's help centre to file a report, because it ultimately means that someone is impersonating them on Facebook,” says a spokeswoman.It's jut so awful." Straight away, she emailed the app’s customer service team to see if they could offer any help.“All I had was the picture and a location, but I assumed that the website would have strict rules about its users taking other people’s identities without permission,” she said.Identity theft is nothing new, but it's on the rise.Figures from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) show a 33 per cent increase in reported cases in 2014 alone.