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Digital security guide: How to protect yourself on dating apps

How to Date Online Safely - Online dating can be fun. But there are also some risks — Malicious actors can use your profile to blackmail, hurt, or harass you. This guide contains helpful tips and resources to protect you.
Some things to think about ... Your privacy: All social media entails some privacy risks. However, online dating sites and apps have particular threats, because they encourage you to share sensitive personal details with people you don’t know.
Your whereabouts: Dating sites and apps often have a geolocation feature that allows you to see other users near you. This feature permits people with bad intentions to identify potential targets nearby and to keep tabs on your location. Unmatch with people you don’t want to message.
 Catfishing: When someone catfishes you, they create a fake profile to gain your trust, find out personal details, and then use this information for harmful purposes. Catfishers could also install spyware or ransomware on your device, for example, through a malicious link or attachment.
Your specific risks: Before meeting in person, evaluate the particular uncertainties you might face. For example, if the regional context poses risks against the LGBTQ+ community, consider carefully the following advice or get in touch with a local organization.
What to do: Pay attention to a profile’s creation date and specified details and trust your intuition. If it does not seem like someone you are messaging is using their true identity, they probably are not. Do not share information about your health, financial status, or workplace. Verify their photos. If you are not sure whether someone is who they say they are, do a reverse-image search of the pictures they are using.
Meet in a neutral public place. Individuals with harmful intentions usually insist on meeting in spaces they can control. If you feel pressured to meet in their home, somewhere unknown or remote, remember that you can always call the meeting off. Be careful disclosing your personal information on your online dating profile. Do not link additional social media platforms.
Use other social media platforms to verify information about the person you want to meet. Which information is shared in their public profile? Is it similar to the information provided in your conversations with them? Most dating apps allow you to chat on their platforms. Only share your phone numbers with contacts you have talked to for a while and feel you can trust. Do not hesitate to block numbers if things don’t feel right.
Know that you are not obligated to share personal information about your gender, body, or surgical and medical records. Disclosing this information is a personal decision. Only do what makes that should be made based on what makes you feel safer and more comfortable. Consider using video-messaging services before meeting in person. This can help determine if they are being honest – it is safer and can be fun! Do not use dating sites or apps on unprotected Wi-Fi networks, like public Wi-Fi or networks without passwords.

More to read

Learn more about how to protect yourself on dating sites and apps via the resources below.

App-Specific Dating Tips

 

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