The Biggest Threat to Your Identity This Time of Year: Loneliness
PDF Print E-mail


By Christine DiGangi, a writer for

Valentine’s Day can be a pretty obnoxious holiday, particularly if you’re expecting to spend the 14th all by yourself. The constant reminders that “love is in the air,” coupled with the loneliness you might already be feeling, can make single people vulnerable to all sorts of scams.

However you might feel about being alone on Valentine’s Day, make sure your emotions don’t make you easy prey.

1. Social Love

Scams pop up on Facebook and Twitter year-round, but holiday-themed posts can be particularly enticing. Be careful about what you click, whether it’s a quiz, article or an invitation from a friend — if it’s linking to a site you don’t recognize or asking you for personal information, it’s probably a good idea to avoid it.

2. Spammy Emails

Ideally, your spam filter will keep love-themed phishing attempts out of your inbox, but if not, exercise caution when you see an email hawking some sort of love connection or Valentine’s Day-themed cure for your loneliness. Even if it appears to be from a source you recognize, take a close look at the message to see if the sender’s address seems right and the text is free of mistakes. If you have any doubts about its authenticity, don’t click on anything — except the delete button.

3. Dating Scams

With all the apps and online services geared toward finding a companion, you could probably get a date for Valentine’s Day — not necessarily a good one, but a date nonetheless. Beware of someone who asks you a lot of personal questions, requests money or puts off in-person meetings. They might be searching for someone to defraud, as opposed to a dinner companion.

If you feel like you may have already succumbed to a scammer and shared information that could leave you vulnerable to identity-related crimes like new-account fraud, it’s important to keep an eye on your credit. You can get your full free annual credit reports once a year at

Just because you don’t have a date this Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean you’re missing out, so don’t take the bait from someone trying to make you think you are. Do something that makes you happy, and maybe stay away from the Internet this weekend — you probably don’t want to see everyone’s gushy Instagrams, anyway.