Personal information including names, email addresses, city, state and zip codes, dating preferences, birth dates, marital status, dating preferences and body details of 2.28 million users of the dating site MeetMindful have recently been discovered to have been made available for free on an online hacking forum frequented by cybercriminals .  Cybercriminals often use the information gathered in data breaches such as this to form the basis of scams that start with spear phishing emails which are phishing emails specifically tailored with information about you and your interests. These spear phishing emails will attempt to lure you into either providing personal information that can be used to make you a victim of identity theft or to click on links containing harmful malware.  In addition, hackers of dating sites also engage in what are commonly called sextortion campaigns through which they threaten individuals whose data was stolen with exposing what might be embarrasing personal data unless they are paid a ransom.

TIPS

This data breach is another reminder that you are only as secure as the websites with the weakest security that have your personal information. In regard to sextortion, whenever you provide personal information to any website, you should consider the possiblity of that information being compromised in a data breach in this era where data breaches are quite common.  As for protecting yourself from spear phishing emails, everyone should be skeptical of any email asking for personal information or prompting you to click on a link. Never provide such information or click on links until you have confirmed that the email is legitimate.

I also urge you to regularly go to the website https://haveibeenpwned.com/ where you can insert your email address and find what data breaches may have compromised your information.

For those of you receiving the Scam of the day through an email, I just want to remind you that if you want to see the ever increasing list of Coronavirus scams go to the first page of the http://www.scamicide.com website and click on the tab at the top of the page that indicates “Coronavirus Scams.”  Scamicide has been cited by the New York Times as one of three top sources for information about Coronavirus related scams.

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