Over the past decade, online dating has become globally adopted and is now more popular than ever before. Thanks to our smartphones, we’re able to document our lives and connect in ways once never thought imaginable. In this age, we all know how important it is to be secure. But when it comes to your online dating profile, something should be kept private. We’re covering some of the dos and don’t of online dating, so you can focus less on worrying, and more on finding your soulmate.
Do check the credibility and reputation of the site before applying
Never underestimate the value of your personal information. Untrustworthy dating sites or individuals you meet could use, sell, or share your information without your consent. Therefore, you should always check the security of the site’s URL, transactions, and communication interface. Start by checking site reviews and internal articles on privacy and breach response protocol, and safety tips for communicating on their platform.
Don’t use your primary or personal phone number, email address, or identifiable usernames
You should avoid using your primary email address, or any usernames that may contain personally identifiable information, such as name, DOB, etc on dating sites. Instead, create entirely new accounts and usernames in order to avoid having your personal accounts and security questions targeted by a cybercriminal. Personal phone numbers should be guarded as well, and when it comes to communicating with a potential date, use Google Voice.
Do read all agreements and contracts before accepting, then customize the privacy settings
The information you’re sharing on a dating site is extremely personal. Don’t skip the Terms and Conditions agreements, read them! Once you find a site you align with, you should enable privacy settings to your comfort level. Remember these settings and agreements may change over time, so be sure to stay up-to-date on your preference settings.
Don’t share or discuss the information you could have used to answer security questions
You will be asked to share highly-personal information, but avoid sharing excessive details. By not sharing private identification information with the platform or your profile viewers, will make it more difficult for them to exploit.
Do keep in mind cybercriminals often target online daters
Much of the information these sites ask you to share, in one way or another, could be used against you. Cybercriminals can utilize the stolen information to post in your name, open new online accounts or profiles, access financial information, or claim your identity as their own. After speaking with a seemingly trustworthy individual, it could be tempting to share your name, location, and other personal insights. However, it’s best to be wary of these inquiries until you can confirm and authenticate their intent.
Don’t share your profile or personal dating information across the Internet or multiple sites/apps
Have faith in the site you pick and give it time. Instead of spreading your profile and personal information across multiple sites, trusting one site, for the time being, will make you less vulnerable to potential scams. This also makes it easier to gauge the trustworthiness and the quality of the site you selected. If you experience persistent issues after a month, you should delete the account and try again on another site. However, to ensure privacy, request to permanently delete your information upon account cancellation.
Do practice caution when scheduling, attending, and meeting a date for the first time
Talking to someone new and meeting them for the first time can be especially exciting. However, don’t let your guard down. Remember, they could be using the same safety strategies as you are, but asking for a phone number is the first hurdle. Once you’ve built trust, you’re ready meet in real life.
You’ll want to meet at a public location and tell a friend where you’ll be. You can even go as far as to ask them to call at a predetermined time to check-in or help you get out of an uncomfortable date. However, if the scenario gets more serious and you feel threatened, notify your server, bartender, or anyone else in the area and ask for their assistance.
Thanks to Brent Scott for giving us the idea for this article. B. Scott and his team of community advocates work to share industry research, helpful tips, and cybersecurity defense strategies. Their efforts are directed towards helping Internet users and online daters keep their information private.