With technology getting more and more advanced these days, anything is almost virtually possible. One thing that has taken on many forms and shapes is online dating, which is a way of meeting people and establishing relationships online. Online dating has been around since 1995 and has evolved over the years.
Online dating, however, has risks. If you aren’t careful, you could be endangering your personal information by exposing it to a random stranger whom you haven’t met in real life. This can cause problems in the long run as this information can be used against you.
What Are the Risks of Online Dating?
Stalking and Harassment
Dating sites often come with chat features that let you talk with your potential match. If not careful, you might be revealing sensitive information without your knowledge. People can use this information to monitor your online activity. They can even go to stalking and harassing you personally at times.
Some dating sites can track information if you’ve used social media like Facebook or Instagram to sign up. This enables hackers to access important details and use them for various illegal activities. It’s always a red-flag if the site or app asks for sensitive information such as phone numbers, location, birth dates, and many more.
The chance for fraud in dating websites is very high. People tend to appeal to others by telling an unfortunate story or situation (which may or may not be true). They use those stories to come to you for financial assistance. When your potential partner starts asking for money in your conversations, it’s time to draw the line.
These are a few of the risks you take when you sign up on dating sites. Many people tend to ignore online security when using the internet and these apply to dating sites as well. So how do you protect yourself when you use online dating websites?
- Keep Communication Within the Dating Site or App
As mentioned earlier, most dating websites come with a chat feature. However, some might let people message you even when you’re not using the dating site. It’s best to keep conversations within the dating site. Not only does it help you avoid spam, but it also prevents unwanted people from peeking into the private matters of your life if you aren’t ready to divulge that information.
- Do a Background Check
Before proposing a meetup with your match from the dating website, do research your new date online. There are a lot of ways on how to do a background check on someone you’ve met online. Websites like Nuwber help you find important information about other people. You can look up things like their address, their contact information, their current job, and criminal records (if they have some). With services like Nuwber, never worry about meeting a criminal on the run on your first date.
- Don’t Link Your Social Media Accounts
Dating websites these days provide an option to link your social media such as Facebook or Instagram. This allows dating sites to use your social media data to help find your perfect match. However, by linking your social media, you are exposing sensitive data about yourself to strangers. Some information on your social media such as current work, current job title, and many more are immediately available for viewing. Dating apps can also import pictures from Facebook to your profile as well, which hackers can exploit. To avoid cases of identity theft, do not link or use your social media profile details on dating websites.
- Never Give Your Number Immediately
So you’ve managed to have a good start and you’re planning to meet up, naturally, he or she will ask for your number to stay in touch. If this is the first time you’ll meet face to face, avoid giving out your real phone number. Services like Google Voice Proxy let you have a proxy number, which you can use in dating apps. This will direct all calls and messages from the site to your real phone number and the proxy number is the only visible number on the website. This helps stop people from accessing your real contact number (without your consent). It also prevents hackers from tracking your location by using the area code on your phone number.
Search for the right partner with the help of dating websites and apps. However, using dating sites or apps can put your personal data at risk. If not careful, you’ll be exposing sensitive information about yourself, which hackers can use in their illegal activities. Luckily, there are ways to minimize these risks. Remember to stay alert at all times and follow our tips to arm yourself with information to prevent stalking, harassment, identity theft, fraud or any other potential threats associated with online dating.