The world of online dating comes with its own highs and lows, but one of the most pressing issues is the presence of serious privacy risks. Not only do dating apps rely on your personal information, but the people on these apps can also put your data in danger. In this article, we’ll show you how to increase your privacy on dating apps and give you a list of ways to make yourself safer online.
How Dating Apps Use Your Data
When you sign up for dating apps like Tinder, Hinge, or Bumble, you must put in your personal information. This includes information like your name and the city you live in. However, many dating applications also take additional data from you, including your:
- Date of birth
- Personal photos
- Sexual orientation
- Phone number or email address
Of course, this is just the information that the app requires you to share. In many cases, these apps encourage you to post additional information about yourself such as where you work and where you like to spend your free time. Although these are meant to be points of conversation between you and a potential partner, apps can (and do) gain access to this information and can use it to direct more ads toward you. Some dating apps even sell the data they acquire.
For example, a study found that apps like Match.com and Tinder use an estimated 36 trackers on their websites to gather information about users without their consent. This is a huge privacy risk, especially if users haven’t explicitly agreed to share certain information with the application or its partners. Unfortunately, dating apps aren’t the only ones posing a risk.
The Privacy Risks of Dating Apps
Although having your information sold off to advertisers isn’t ideal, it’s not nearly as dangerous as some of the other privacy violations that occur on dating apps. One of the biggest issues is the safety and privacy of members on these applications. Users, most of whom are women, have reported a variety of cases where potential suitors from dating apps have attempted to use the personal information they provide to stalk them online or in person.
Some of the data that these applications require can easily be found by searching for someone on social media. Essentially, if you were to look up someone’s personal info on Facebook, you would be able to find out where they lived and what their full name is. However, the data that really put users in danger is the information they share in personal conversations. That’s why it’s especially important to be careful of the data you give away, even if the person seems trustworthy. Risking your safety is never worth the price of meeting someone new.
How to Increase Your Privacy on Dating Apps
One of the best ways to increase your privacy on dating apps is to restrict the information you share about yourself. Giving away too much data can lead to seriously dangerous situations, including stalking both in-person and on the Internet. Let’s take a look at some tips for giving yourself more privacy and protection on dating apps.
- Avoid sharing your true location. It’s important to never give away your actual location when talking to someone online, especially if you have never met them before.
- Never give away the name of your workplace. Someone could use this information to visit you at your place of business without your permission or knowledge.
- Don’t share the name of your school. This information could be used to track your whereabouts and find out more about you.
- Avoid using photos that can be traced to other social media apps. Someone can use these photos and conduct a reverse Google Image search to find your social media.
- Use a powerful and unique password. This prevents cyberattacks and can stop anyone from trying to hack into your account.
- Download a VPN. Use this to hide your location and block app trackers.
- Never link your dating profiles to other social networks. Sharing your Spotify or Instagram account can help people find you on other websites.
- Use a temporary phone number. Chat with potential matches using a temporary phone number through Google or WhatsApp.
- Never send someone money on a dating app. In nearly every case, this is likely a scam to try and get your financial information.
- Always meet someone in a public place and let your loved ones know where you’ll be. Never go on a first date with someone without informing friends or family of your location and how long you plan to be there.
When it comes to using apps for dating, you can never be too careful. Between advertisers attempting to steal your data and potentially dangerous users on these applications, it’s never been more important to protect your privacy.
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