Online dating has not only diversified life of single people, but it has also changed the very concept of finding love. In today’s world, you no longer need to spend your days in bars and clubs looking for someone suitable. There is no need to go on dates only to be disappointed in the other person and regret wasting your time. When you always have a platform at your fingertips with all the potential partners you can chat and arrange dates with, there is no more need to worry about every wasted minute.
But despite dating sites being considered one of the safest ways to find love, many users remain concerned about the safety of their personal data and the details of their personal lives. It’s not that dating sites neglect the safety of their users, but the fact that being online carries its own risks one way or another if you’re not careful enough. So today, we will look at ways you can continue to enjoy looking for love online and remain safe.
The Popularity of Dating Sites and Importance of Online Safety
So, what is it about the high popularity of dating sites that, despite the general risks, people continue to use them daily? It’s all about the fact that dating sites are not only a convenient alternative to traditional methods, but they also allow you to keep your personal life a secret.
Each of us has our own unique preferences when it comes to romance. If you, like many online dating users, would prefer a discreet hookup to a lasting relationship, dating sites can help you in arranging that. No one will ask you why you want to keep your affairs private. Discreet sites will simply keep the details of your flings inside the platform, which no one can access but you.
Nevertheless, there are risks on any dating site that cannot be prevented. Avoiding getting into unpleasant situations is only possible by being as careful as possible and learning to protect yourself with your own strength. So what can a user do to protect themselves when looking for romance on the Internet?
Understanding and Avoiding Potential Risks
Reliable dating sites guarantee full protection of your personal data and details of your conversations with other users, but do the potential risks end there? The answer is no. Scammers use hundreds of schemes on the Internet to steal personal information and make money from it. The most common ones are phishing and catfishing.
Phishing is the most widespread form of cybercrime, which requires tech skills. Thousands of scammers around the world use this scheme and attack not only individual users but whole companies as well. According to statistics, people receive about 3.4 billion spam emails daily. 20% of users eventually get scammed.
Usually, such emails are disguised as messages from representatives of a known company, social network, or business. However, in the case of dating sites, they can be invitations to chat rooms and other dating sites or registration to some local dating events. In such an email, you will always find a link to a page asking you to enter your information (email, password, phone number, name, etc.). As soon as the data is entered, you lose your account, and the scammer gets access to your data.
In most cases, it’s easy to distinguish a phishing email from a real one. First, check the dating profile from which the message was sent. When was the account created? Is the user’s photo real? (You can check this with a Google image search). Are there any errors in the message? Hover your mouse over the link. Does the link address seem strange to you? The more questions you ask, the better your chance of saving yourself from falling into the fraud trap.
Unlike phishing, catfishing doesn’t require tech skills because this scheme aims not to steal your personal information or money but to make you give it to them yourself. And the danger of this scheme is that it is most widespread on dating sites. Statistically, about 40% of the cases of catfishing occur on dating sites and apps, and most often, it’s men who work under this scheme.
A scammer creates a fake profile (most often a girl’s profile) and adds a few photos and a flirty description to attract the attention of single men on the site. Then the scammer starts texting users with an invitation to get to know each other, and after a while, asks to transfer some money (the reason could be anything from “I need to pay my rent” to “My mom is sick and she needs surgery”). Depending on how experienced the scammer is, the scheme may last from a couple of hours to a week or more; it all depends on how big a score they intend to break.
Avoiding falling into such a trap is also possible. For example, if a girl you met a couple of hours or even days ago asks you to land her money or help financially, this is most likely a scammer. If the girl asks you for personal information, whether it’s a personal address, a phone number, or any other sensitive data, chances are it’s a scam, too. In this case, blocking the user and sending a complaint is the best way out.
Ways to Protect Personal Information
In addition to phishing and catfishing, there are other ways to steal your personal information without directly interacting with you. From hacking into accounts to collecting personal information in the public domain, scammers have devised hundreds of ways to defraud careless users. So, if you want to create an extra layer of protection, follow these few rules.
– Create a strong password
In 3 cases of account theft out of 5, the reason is a weak password. Not all dating sites require the user to use lower- and upper-case letters, numbers, or special symbols in the password, but using them protects your account from being compromised.
– Get familiar with your privacy settings
Many online dating sites ask for your location and email address to help match you with the right people. But you can set up your profile so that other members don’t see the information you don’t want them to see. Open profile settings, and under “Who can see my contact information,” choose “Only me.”
– Don’t share personal information with strangers
The more careful you are about what you do on a dating site, the better your chances are of avoiding being scammed. Don’t share your personal information, such as your phone number or residential address, with site users until you’re sure the person can be trusted. As a rule, such information can be shared after the date in person.
Safe Communication and Pleasant Dating Experience
So far, we’ve discussed all the details of a safe online dating experience. This knowledge should be enough to make your online romance search pleasant and safe. Don’t share personal information with strangers, don’t click on links from users you don’t know, and don’t post personal data on your profile for public view. Stick to the tips discussed today, and you’re guaranteed success.