Should You Share Personal Details On Dating Sites?
Today, you need extreme caution when sharing data online. Hacking has been making the headlines for quite some time, and the issue is still pressing. Social networks and dating sites alike are vulnerable to malicious attacks. You may have heard of the Ashley Madison scandal followed by massive blackmailing of users. Suddenly, 32 million married men looking for flings were exposed, along with their personal and financial information.
A reporter for The Guardian newspaper requested Tinder to provide her data (under the EU law.). The result was 800 pages of information, from basic details like her age, education and number Facebook friends to the profiles visited and chat history with each of her matches.
As Frances Zelazny, vice president of a cyber fraud detection company told Observer, “One added a bonus that they afford hackers are more detailed data points that can help round out the target’s personality/user profile. These types of details and personal data are the ultimate weapons for hackers as they are anxious to strengthen their ammunition, improve their databases and ultimately wreak havoc however they can do best.”
On dating apps, you are constantly tracked. So can you afford to be carefree when it comes to personal data? And is using an alias enough?
A dating site will track your location (IP address). If you install an effective Virtual Private Network, it will encrypt the sessions and hide your real IP. You have probably seen quite a few police movies in which criminals were tracked using this information. For hackers, it is also a useful tool. In addition, online advertisers may use your IP to show you those annoying context ads. Imagine your coworker looking over your shoulder to spot a dating-related banner on your social media page.
However, be careful when choosing a VPN provider. Most free options use weak encryption and may still leave you exposed. Remember, really strong privacy protection is worth paying for.
2. Beware of scammers
Of course, the desire to find “the one” makes us emotionally vulnerable and willing to overshare. Naturally, you have to upload real photos to find a date, and there isn’t much point in lying about your height, but do not be overly trusting. There is nothing wrong about using your first name or inventing an alias. After all, other users will relate to your concerns if you explain them.
Dating sites are often infiltrated by spammers or scammers who may pose as attractive singles. It is best to wait until your face-to-face meeting before sharing anything sensitive. It is also wiser not link credit cards to dating app account, as hackers may access your financial data.
Overall, there are steps you could take to make online dating safer. Do not let criminals exploit your emotional needs. With a strong VPN and a thoughtful approach, you will avoid many problems.