Fraudsters are running dedicated phishing campaigns targeting members of online dating sites, say net monitoring firm Netcraft.
Account holders of Match.com, eHarmony, Zoosk, Plenty of Fish and Christian Mingle and many others have received an increase in phishing emails designed to steal login details said the company.
The emails had been sent from other websites, hacked by cybercriminals to hide the senders' identity.
The company who analysed the attacks said the phishing campaign against dating sites marked a departure for fraudsters, who typically preferred to target banks.
Fraudsters want genuine accounts
While many online dating sites take measures to identify fake profiles, phishing for genuine established accounts gives fraudsters the edge.
Some dating sites only allow messages to be exchanged with other users after a subscription fee has been paid; by compromising existing paid accounts, the fraudsters can reduce their traceability by avoiding the need to make payments.
Once the fraudsters get hold of your login information it can be used to befriend other users. Using the dating websites messaging system the fraudsters build sympathy and gather trust from victims and exploit this by claiming they need money to pay for travel costs, or to afford medical treatment for a family member.
You should always be careful about the information you share with anyone you meet online. This not only includes credit card details and where you bank, but also your pets’ names or your mother's maiden name, as these could be used against you to access financial information.
If you think a profile is fake, check the website for details on reporting it. Usually there will be links or buttons on profiles to block or report individuals and if you are victim of this type of scam report it to us immediately.
For further information visit the Netcraft website.
Please note that Action Fraud is not responsible for the content of external websites.
To report a fraud and receive a police crime reference number, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use our online fraud reporting tool.