You may ask yourself what so bad can happen if you use online dating sites. This question is especially reasonable if we're talking about well-known websites and apps trusted by millions of users worldwide.
Tinder, Zoosk, Match, Badoo, OK Cupid, and many more give their users the opportunity to access the pool of potential love interests, where they can fast and effortlessly find their matches swiping their smartphones, and everything fine there.
However, no matter how safe everything may seem, don't forget that the Internet is an equally dangerous place as it is helpful and essential. Thus, sharing any data, even such generic as your education, may jeopardize your privacy and even endanger your life, especially if it's shared on dating sites.
Your data may be stolen. Hackers can get your name, login info, location data, message history, profiles that you have already viewed, as well as your sexual preferences. For what? According to security researches, online dating users are exposed to blackmailing and stalking much often than users of other services.
Moreover, lots of dating sites and apps have minimal HTTPS encryption, which lets hackers access their users' data even easier and quicker. And such harmless information as your employment or education may be a weapon in the hands of cyberthieves - it can be matched with your other social media accounts, and more information about you can be collected.
Cybercriminals often create fake profiles on dating sites to start communicating with you and then ask for money or send you malicious links. They may ask you to pay for airline tickets and never come. They may promise to send you some money as a small gift, stealing your credit card details. Or you can follow a link sent by that sexy one and get your device infected with a virus.
Online daters should take common steps for getting their personal information protected. The idea of finding your perfect match or the euphoria of communicating with a potential partner shouldn't prevent you from taking care of your online security and following the next steps:
• Never use your full name
Signing up, use a nickname and never share your full name while talking to someone – just a first name.
• Never ever share your personal data
No telephone numbers, emails, or home address until you have met this person in a safe public place and made sure he or she is legitimate.
• Never share your home address
Even if you've already met the person tete-a-tete, do not share where you live. Giving this information with someone whose motives aren't clear enough may expose your property, family, and life.
• Visit only HTTPS websites
Signing up on a dating site, always make sure it has a green lock icon and says HTTPS to reduce the level of vulnerability of your data while using this website.
• Use a temp mail
It is not required to provide your real email while signing up – generate a temporary disposable email address via a temp mail service to keep your real mailbox spam-free and safe.
• Connect to a VPN
With a VPN on the IP address of your device is hidden, your ISP is kept private, your Internet connection is encrypted, and you can safely use dating services.
VPN is a must if you are an online dater who cares about your privacy and security. Connecting to a trustworthy VPN will help you eliminate most cyber threats and keep your personal data strictly confidential and Internet connection encrypted, no matter how tech-savvy the person on the other end of the chat window is.
However, you should always remember that your data will be protected only if your VPN is on and connected. You should also not forget to follow other steps described above cause if you share your full name, home address, and telephone by yourself while chatting with someone, no VPN can help then. Never share your personal information on online dating websites.