Online dating brings a world wide web full of potential partners to your screen. You’ll meet people from backgrounds and places you might not otherwise encounter in your daily life. And dating platforms offer many screening and filtering options to help you narrow your prospective dates down to people you’re more likely to be compatible with.
All those advantages also come with very specific risks. The Federal Trade Commission reported romance scam losses in 2022 hit $1.3 billion, with an average loss to victims of about $4,400.
Protecting your privacy when dating online is important to ensure your personal information remains secure and to maintain control over your online presence. Using tools like a phone number app or privacy settings in your social media accounts can make your search for love safer and more enjoyable.
A username or pseudonym on dating platforms adds an extra layer of anonymity and prevents strangers from easily finding your personal information online through social media or search engines.
Preventing a potential match from easily finding your full name, address, or workplace online is a good strategy to help protect yourself from identity theft or unauthorized use of your real name. It also makes it easier for you to stop communicating with potential stalkers who you are suspicious of or who make you feel uncomfortable without revealing your real identity.
This will help keep your personal and professional email accounts separate and reduce the risk of unwanted access or spam. If a scammer manages to access your dedicated dating email, they won’t get access to your work contacts or financial information by default.
Aside from reducing your risk of hacking attempts or phishing scams, this offers you a layer of protection against messages they could send to damage your reputation. Using a unique email address and a pseudonym or username can provide an additional layer of anonymity when engaging in online dating. It allows you to control the information you share and limits the potential for others to connect your dating profile to your personal identity.
Using an alternate phone number keeps your personal phone number private. This helps prevent potential stalkers or scammers from easily accessing your personal information. And if you get unwanted contact, you can block their number without affecting your primary phone number, or you can switch to a new number altogether to leave behind unwanted connections.
Social media platforms can be great for sharing your news, photo memories, and other personal updates with friends and family. But be mindful of the information you share on social media platforms.
It’s common to include details about your work, community or neighborhood, family, interests, and daily routines on social media. This can make it easier for people with bad intentions to find, track, and harass you. Adjusting your privacy settings to limit access to your personal information and ensure that only trusted individuals can view your posts, photos, and other personal details is important for your safety.
Once you’ve started feeling comfortable with a prospective partner online, you may want to increase the feeling of intimacy by sharing photos. It’s important to remember that once you share a photo online, you lose control over how it may be used or shared by others.
You already know revealing or explicit photos can be used against you or compromise your privacy. They can be screenshotted, saved, or shared without your consent, potentially leading to embarrassment, harassment, or harm to your reputation. In some cases, they’ve even been used for blackmail or exploitation. But sharing photos can also reveal your physical appearance and potentially lead to the disclosure of your identity. This could lead to unwanted exposure, identity theft, or even catfishing scenarios where your photos are used to deceive others.
Online dating can open your romance prospects to a world of possibilities, but it’s important to remain cautious about sharing your personal data. Remember that no platform can guarantee 100% safety. You must exercise your own judgment and take necessary precautions when engaging in online dating. Be vigilant, trust your instincts, and follow best practices for online safety.
Avoid sharing sensitive personal information in the early stages of online dating, such as your full name, home address, phone number, or workplace. Never give out your financial information. And be careful about sharing your social media profiles which can give scammers clues about your personal information. Get to know the person better and establish trust before sharing anything that could be used to harm you later.