Getting to know someone online means sharing your personal details. But you must be careful not to overshare because if you do, it could lead to your identity being stolen or your private data being sold.
If you’re asking yourself, “is the Tinder app private?” or “are dating apps safe?” well…just like with relationships: it’s complicated. Tinder now has added safety precautions, including a photo verification feature. But because people sometimes share their personally identifiable information (PII) on dating apps, the odds that your identity will get compromised on them go up—unless you take steps to keep your PII safe.
Let’s face it, more and more of us are using apps to meet our partners. Dating app revenue hit a record high of $5.6 billion in 2021, and there are now over 323 million people using them, also an all-time high. Further, people have lost over $1.3 billion through romance scams, like “The Tinder Swindler” (he bilked multiple women by convincing them to give him literally hundreds of thousands of dollars). It’s quite possible to have your identity stolen because you’re a rich target for online fraudsters if you expose your PII.
With all that said, let’s get into the do’s and don’ts of how to be safe when using dating apps!
The 6 things you SHOULDN’T do on dating apps
1. Don’t use PII in your accounts
Don’t share your last name, Social Security number (SSN), or even your phone number when communicating with someone within a dating app. There’s no reason to ever share your SSN with anyone.Even when it comes to giving someone your phone digits and last name, only do so over the phone and once you’re 100% comfortable with them and trust them, and preferably after meeting in person. There are cybercriminals out there who only want your digits so that they can call you and try to pull a scam.
If a dating app asks you for too much of your PII (like the site “PlentyofFish”), be wary of using it at all.
2. Don’t use your social media handles
Don’t tie your Facebook, Instagram or TikTok accounts to your dating profile. This potentially gives away too much of your PII and makes you more vulnerable to online criminals.
3. Don’t use your social media profile pics
Remember, strangers can use your social media profile photos to reverse search for you online, find your profile and learn way more about you than you want to reveal.
4. Don’t go to random websites or apps
If a potential match asks you to install an app or visit a website, JUST SAY NO!
This is a red flag that the person with whom you’re communicating wants your money, not your love. An even bigger red flag is when someone asks you your pet’s name or your favorite teacher—these are common website security questions.
5. Don’t use your full name
Feel free to use your name, but not your full name, to make it harder for scammers to identify you.
6. Don’t trade messages with someone unless you match with them
Some apps allow for anyone to trade messages, regardless of whether they’ve matched. Don’t do this, as it increases the chances of catfishing and scamming.
The 6 things you SHOULD do on dating apps
1. Update your settings
Make your social media accounts only viewable by your friends, not friends of friends—and definitely not the general public. This may sound like a relatively simple step, but it’s important as it makes it that much harder for fraudsters to identify you.
2. Stay in the app
To be safe, don’t exchange numbers and text with someone until after you’ve met them. Until then, keep your messages within the dating app.
3. Set up a Google number
Use a Google phone number rather than your actual cell phone number.
4. Stay current on the latest scams and schemes
What’s the next Tinder Swindler type scam? Scan the media for dating app-related news so you can stay on top of scams.
5. Use real photos
Don’t give away unnecessary information in your pics, like where you work or where you live. Try to use photos from landmarks or public places, and don’t include photos of you with other people.
Get identity theft protection
Last but definitely not least, the sixth “do” when it comes to protecting your PII on dating apps is to be as safe as possible by getting identity theft protection from a world-class service, like IDShield.
IDShield offers best in class personal data monitoring, credit monitoring and privacy and reputation management and prides itself on its highly qualified team of professionals, including Licensed private investigators, who will help you should anything ever go wrong.
Sign up today for either 1 or 3 credit bureau monitoring plus one-on-one consultation. IDShield offers a free trial, so there’s no risk. It’s your all-inclusive solution to identity protection, credit monitoring, reputation management and identity restoration.
Now, go forth and date. Just do it safely!
IDShield is a product of Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. d/b/a LegalShield (“LegalShield”). LegalShield provides access to identity theft protection and restoration services. For complete terms, coverage and conditions, please see www.idshield.com. All Licensed Private Investigators are licensed in the state of Oklahoma. This is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact a lawyer for legal advice or assistance. If you are a LegalShield member, you should contact your Provider Law Firm.