How To Protect Yourself When Using Dating Apps
Internet dating is synonymous with the modern era. Tinder, OKCupid, and eHarmony are some of the most popular examples of dating apps and websites where thousands to millions of people sign up and log in regularly, hoping to find their match.
Here’s the thing: not everyone on those sites is looking for love. Some are looking for information - and worse, perhaps some of them are looking for yours.
Internet dating sites and apps are a potential treasure trove of information and data that can be used by hackers, cyber criminals, or just people looking to ruin your reputation. But don’t give up on love just yet, as this shouldn’t spell the end of your dating life online. Here are some tips you can follow to prevent getting both your heart and your online life shattered.
Be careful of the information you post
This is probably the most difficult piece of advice to follow with dating sites - after all, they’re platforms that encourage you to be a little vulnerable, to present your best side to the person who may be the one. But to the experienced eye, dating sites contain a host of information that can make it easy for you to be hacked.
The most popular example here is fishing for passwords based on your posted information. User passwords are typically generated based on their personal data, and sometimes it’s shockingly easy to guess what it is based on a list of your hobbies alone: for example, a popular term or catchphrase from your favorite TV series.
Be wary of meetups
Keeping your online privacy is difficult enough, but the ultimate goal of dating apps — to meet up in person — makes personal privacy difficult to preserve as well.
Nonetheless, it’s always a good idea to be careful about meeting with your online match in public. Places that are well lit and well-populated are good choices. And remember - you’re always allowed to leave at any moment in the date if you don’t feel like continuing anymore.
… but also be wary of online chatrooms
Online chat rooms are another way to meet and socialise with your prospective dates, but they’re also popular places for thieves to steal your data. With the option of going anonymous, it’s usually a good mindset to not be too trusting of anyone you meet in online chat rooms.
A potential red flag is when someone you’re talking to suddenly asks for confidential information about yourself, such as where you live, or where your workplace is. Information like that can often be used to target you personally for harassment or criminal activity.
However, the best tip to still be safe online is to not give away too much. While dating sites are indeed places for you to show your best self and loosen up, it doesn’t automatically mean loosening up on the basics of how to protect yourself from people who may mean to harm you.
Remember, online privacy often follows personal privacy: if you were asked something in person, would you answer the same if it were asked of you online?
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