All social media platforms pose some significant privacy and security risk. Online dating, especially, is all fun and exciting until security and privacy hick-ups kick in. Online dating is notorious for digital insecurity because scammers and hackers lurk on such platforms. After finding the best dating site for you, the next thing would be to establish complete digital security.
Here are some tips to help you stay safe while using online dating sites.
Choose Your Dating App Carefully
Do your due diligence on every app before deciding on whether or not to commit to any particular one. Dating apps rankings keep changing as more emerging apps make it to the market. Hence, you cannot help but be extra careful:
- Go through each dating app keenly.
- Read through the website for the app before setting up an account.
- Check on the online reputation of the dating site you aspire to join.
You can resolve to stick to some popular dating sites to minimize your exposure to cyberattacks. Most safe dating sites have a free membership, at least for a trial period. It helps you decide on the best without much commitment.
Set Up Basic Protection Online
Every matchmaking platform has its basic security guidelines. Ensure you go through these guidelines before setting up an account or whenever you feel like your privacy is being invaded. These tips are easily accessible on most platforms, while for some, you will have to do a little digging.
Check on how long it takes to create an account. Usually, lengthy processes would mean lesser fake accounts because scammers have a low tolerance to complex registration processes. Additionally, this also means that you can expect more serious daters onsite. Service providers committed to safety insist on identity verification before activating any user profile.
Utilize the Privacy Settings on the App
Some sites allow you to control who sees your online dating profile and how much they can see. The incognito functionality that allows you to hide your profile may require a subscription upgrade. Hence, you have to warm up to investing in your account of choice to enjoy incognito or stealth mode. It is, however, worth the effort as you get more protection from scammers on the site.
Limit the Personal Information You Give Out
Be exclusive with yourself. Do not post any critical details on your profile. Always give out as little personal information as you can. Be careful not to share your home or work address, your phone numbers when setting up an account. Not linking any social media platforms on the dating sites can also help in remaining discreet.
Conversely, withhold information about your health and financial status. When you connect with a match online and choose to take things off the app, always use a burner number. This will keep your personal phone number safe until you are sure that the person is trustworthy.
Use Bogus Emails and Phone Numbers
When setting up an account, avoid using an official email or phone number. Use a side email address that will not contradict your relationship with your employer. As long as you do not use your personal or work email, you have already established a layer of security between you and other users.
If any of the details you use to create your profile fall into the wrong hands, there is always an option to update personal information. Use complex and unique passwords, but different from what you use to access personal or financial sites.
Use the “Report” or “Block” Button when You Need to
Do you feel like someone is trolling you, have you come across a suspicious account online, or don’t feel comfortable being around a particular user? Feel free to block and report them. Every dating site has a safety option to protect users and ensure they feel safe using the app to connect. Some apps have more advanced settings where users can mute a nagging user, un-match, or block them.
Play Detective on Your Potential Matches
Dating sites have become so popular, not only to those looking to meet potential matches but also to scammers looking to prey on unsuspecting daters. Do some due diligence on your potential matches on other sites. Nuwber is a great tool for verifying someone’s identity, just to be sure.
Before engaging in lengthy conversations, ensure their profile photo matches other pictures in the gallery. You can also try looking for them on social media. There are uncountable tools online that could help you identify catfishes, scammers, and such malicious people online.
Avoid Quick Physical Meet-ups with Your Matches
If you mutually decide to go on a physical date with a match from any dating site, be extra careful. Choose the meet-up location wisely. Ensure that you do not meet at your home or workplace. Let it be in a neutral location where they wouldn’t normally find you later.
It is also recommended that you choose to meet in a public and open place. Scammers are more interested in secluded locations. Arrange for personal transport to and from the venue.
Stick to the App’s Messaging Features
The app’s onsite messaging feature can be less convenient compared to similar solutions in the market. However, the app’s features would be more secure. You can only consider taking the conversation off the app once you can completely trust the person.
Video Chat with Your Date Before Meeting Up Physically
Do not just be contented with texting. A video call is a good way to tell if someone is honest with who they claim to be on their profile. If they are hesitant about it or always have a reason not to do it, that’s a straight red flag.
Digital socialization has become an intrinsic part of our lives. It would only be wise to be a little cyber-savvy while at it. That notwithstanding, always put your safety first. The above tips are just basic guidelines to help you achieve it. However, the very first step toward protecting yourself and your privacy is by trusting your instincts.