Crucial Steps To Securing Your Online Dating Privacy

online-datingOnline dating is extremely popular among singles looking for love, but these sites have also been known to attract another less admirable bunch—cyber criminals. That's right, as if crooks weren't a big enough threat already, now you have to worry about them infiltrating your love life too. Yeah, it sucks, but it's just something we all have to deal with in this day and age.

First and foremost, if you ever encounter someone sketchy online, especially on a dating site, the best thing to do is background check them right away. You can use a site like Instant Checkmate in order to find out if they have an affinity for cyber crime or any other form of illegal activity.

Unfortunately, it's not always easy to spot a cyber criminal right off the bat, so in order to avoid being targeted, you need to be proactive in securing your online privacy. So, check out the list below for three crucial steps you can take toward securing your online dating privacy.

1. Read The Fine Print

Not all online dating sites are created equal, which means that each one will have its own unique privacy policy. It's kind of like social media, where some sites allow you to pick and choose which information you want others to see, as well as the details you want to keep hidden. So, the only way to know your options is to read through the site's privacy policy before you create your profile. It's also important to make sure you fully understand the fine print, because some sites have a reputation for screwing users over when it comes to keeping their information private.

2. Fly Under The Radar

You may be tempted to use your real, full name as your online dating username because if you meet someone, you want to start off on the right (honest) foot. However, you should refrain from broadcasting your full name on your profile. It's much safer to pick an anonymous username, because, on the web, you never know who's watching.

Hackers and other lowlife cyber criminals could easily use your name to do a public records search. Once they get the results, they immediately know detailed information about your life including your address, contact information, and much, much more. Trust me, you do not want your private information in the hands of a complete stranger, so play it safe and remain anonymous until you actually start up a conversation with one of your matches.

3. Passwords, Passwords, Passwords

When you create a profile on an online dating site, or any site for that matter, it's extremely important to choose a strong password. Unfortunately, the majority of people out there are extremely lax when creating their passwords, which ultimately makes them more susceptible to being hacked. According to experts, a password is only considered strong if it has the following characteristics:

  • A minimum of nine characters (the longer the better)
  • Does NOT include any personal information such as name, birthdate, street name, etc.
  • Includes a combination of both upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters

So, if your go-to password is "ilovecats," then you should opt for something like "!LoV3CaTz" because it's essentially the same thing but much more hacker-proof. Most online daters end up creating profiles on several different sites, so if you decide to expand your horizons, remember to choose a different password for each profile. Changing your password every few months, even if it's just a small variation of your current one, will also help to make sure your private information stays private.

Do YOU have any additional tips to help online daters secure their profiles? Please let us know in the comments!

Published on behalf of Ms. Bonnie Harper. Bonnie is a blogger from Austin, TX. She specializes in writing about online dating safety and security.

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