When it comes to online dating, making a great first impression is always an advantage. Exchanging introductions and personal facts about yourself is the usual way of getting to know a new match. The prospect of a new fling can be fun and exciting, however, it is equally important to know where to draw the line of oversharing your personal information and protecting your identity online.
Joining an online dating app always begins with filling out information that may be shared publicly for others to get an idea of who you are, your interests, and your educational background– which is why prioritizing proper online security and privacy habits is important.
Even with the limited information you share on your profile, hacking experts can gather enough data to use against you. Some risks of sharing personal information can include:
- Stolen identification
- Credit card/debit card fraud
- Social security number, health insurance, car insurance fraud
- Home or work security breach
- Scam against family members or friends
The difficult part of online dating is that it isn’t always easy to spot romance scams, but they are another threat you need to be aware of. If you take a look at privacy policies, some dating apps may include certain terms and agreements that allow the sharing of personal data to third parties.
Let’s take a look at some reminders on things to do in order to ensure the line of what you share on your dating profile and protecting your identity is not crossed:
Limit Profile Information
- Set information to private. Online sites will often ask you to list the city you live in, your date of birth, marital status, gender, and even more detailed information. Some of this information is set publicly by default. Take the extra steps by checking your privacy settings, limiting personal information to fill out, setting up a new email address to sign up, and picking a username not associated with any of your existing ones.
- Never share specific information in the middle of a conversation. The topic might lead to a place where discussing specific details such as insurance info, credit card company, personal phone number, email address, or area you live in can come about. Instead, of answering specifics –make sure to stick to general replies.
- Photo Privacy. Choosing photos is a big part of the online dating scene. Some privacy statements reveal your photo can be used for online advertising. Ensure the privacy statement for photos is only for members to see. Also choose pictures that do not reveal any personal information in the background such as, street names, house or apartment numbers, and recognizable landmarks.
- Deactivation Policy. Check to see if the online site or app deletes all of your data after you close your account. There may be setting options that can retain and keep your information after deleting your account.
Ensure Location Security
- Block Unnecessary Location Settings. Many online dating apps track your location, even if they don’t need to. To avoid the risk of your location service being breached, go to your phone settings to turn off the location tracking tool.
- Strategic Meet-up Location. When the time comes for meeting up, although it might be convenient for you to meet at a bar or cafe three minutes down from where you live –avoid giving out information your home address is located within that area.
When it comes to online dating, the protection of your identity should be a priority. Sharing personal information or facts about yourself in the process of getting-to-know new people does not need to come with a price. By taking extra precautions and practicing good online security habits, the risk of your personal data being compromised will be minimal.