NEW YORK (MainStreet) — With more women bringing home the bacon, men are increasingly looking for financial security from their romantic relationships.

"With so many people laid off or out of work, we have seen an increase in identity thefts on the site," said Erik Knight, CEO of "The characteristics of a gold digger is someone who might be involved in a petty theft, identity theft, fraud, back child support payments, writing bad checks and multiple bankruptcies."

While the typical gold digger is stereotyped as someone like Cameron Diaz's character in the film "Bad Teacher," men are rising up the ranks. The movie "Bernie" starring Jack Black is a perfect example.

"Female gold diggers typically subjugate their power through sexuality whereas a male gold digger achieves what he wants through charm and persuasion," Knight told MainStreet.

For example, V. Stiviano was allegedly arrested in 2004 for petty theft before she befriended Donald Sterling, who reportedly gifted her $500,000 worth of luxury cars and a $1.8 million duplex in Los Angeles.

"Yes, V. Stiviano is a gold digger," said Knight. "A rise in petty theft makes the gold digger phenomenon all too common."

Some 1 in 8 queries reveal a criminal past, with states that are more economically hard hit seeing more of an increase in identity theft.

They include Arizona, California, Texas, Florida, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Georgia.

"Gold diggers look for people that are financially secure," Knight said. "They look for people that are confident and not afraid to spend dough on their significant other. They also tend to look for people that don't keep a hard watch on their finances."

To avoid marrying a gold digger, due diligence is recommended.

"If you are dating someone new you can never be too safe," said Knight. "With just a name and a state, you can quickly DirtSearch them free and anonymously to find out if they have a civil, speeding, divorce, criminal or arrest record."

For those who've already made the mistake of marrying a gold digger, male or female, all is not lost.

"The concerned spouse can request a post-nuptial agreement to be put in place," said Bari Weinberger, an attorney who specializes in family and divorce law. "Some couples opt for a post-nup if one has a substantial increase in income or if one decides to stay home to raise the kids to outline spousal support. " For example, Heidi Klum and Seal reportedly implemented a post-nuptial agreement after Klum starred on "Project Runway," because her income increased substantially.

"It made sense to outline how this income would factor into a possible divorce, which ended up happening," Weinberger told MainStreet.

If a gold digging relationship does deteriorate into divorce, the sugar daddy or sugar mama spouse needs to establish in litigation, mediation or collaborative divorce that he or she is the financially responsible one.

"Keep liquid assets in your name only so that the gold digging spouse cannot access your accounts," said Kevin R. Worthley, a certified divorce financial analyst with Equitable Divorce Solutions in Rhode Island. "Keep individual credit cards not joint cards so that it's much easier to separate their spending from yours and maintain separate checking accounts."

5 Signs You're Dating a Gold Digger

1. He owns flashy things but can't explain where they came from. "Flashy things could be anything you see and wear that are brilliant or dazzling in a superficial way," Knight said. "It could be a blinded out watch, purse or even gold chain. It can also be a blinged out car with [large] rims."

2. She is constantly talking about materialistic things and has an obsession with get rich quick schemes.

3. Like his female counterpart, the male gold digger exhibits a sense of entitlement. "They flirt with other men or women and fall too easily in love," said Knight. "When pointing out any flaw, they most certainly do not take criticism well and always think they are right. They are a characterized narcissist."

4. She hints around or asks you flat out to help her pay a bill.

5. He has forgotten his wallet more than once on a date.

--Written by Juliette Fairley for MainStreet