With online dating now mainstream and an increasing number of people meeting and engaging via the internet, it is critical that we be aware of the importance of cybersecurity. Your online activities can leave you open to dating scams and even make you vulnerable to identify theft and internet fraud.

Unfortunately, as much as we would like to believe otherwise, not everyone is transparent and honest about who they are. This is true about many personal interactions but online connection makes subterfuge even easier. In fact, online interaction allows people to easily take on an entirely fictional persona and this has led to countless scams and misrepresentations. Genuine online daters who are innocently looking for love may be left dumbfounded by betrayal.

That is not to say that you should stop dating online altogether. As with anything, there are sensible precautions that you can take to protect your identify. By remaining observant to the warning signs and considering what personal information you disclose, you can drastically decrease your risk of a sketchy encounter.

Recently, highlighted that many of us fail to take any kind of step toward safe guarding our privacy online.

85.8% of the Choosi survey respondents agreed that they are concerned about online security and privacy. That suggests that approximately fifteen percent of us haven’t really given the prospect of internet fraud or scams a great deal of thought or don’t consider it to be a significant risk.

Despite most of us being concerned about online safety, only fifty-four percent of respondents made a specific effort to protect themselves—this group stated that they are always careful about posting their personal details online, such as their address and risky information like when they were going to be away on holiday.

A similar number of respondents indicated that they are always careful about posting details that they consider might be used in identity fraud—date of birth, for example. Almost forty-nine percent extend this consideration to their loved ones and stated that they are always careful about posting images of their family and friends to maintain their privacy.

Steps That You Can Take to Protect Your Online Dating Profile and Identity:

  1. Your Interests

It’s great to include details about your personal likes and dislikes, including your hobbies and how you spend your time; however, there is some key information that you do not want to reveal. It’s advisable to never discuss in your profile your intentions for an upcoming night out or where you can be found every Saturday morning, for example.

  1. Your Personal Details

So much can be learned about a person with a simple Google search. This can be facilitated by information such as your full name and your date of birth. Keep this information private and never include it in your dating profile. This type of information should not be shared until you are at the stage when you have met someone in person and feel comfortable with them.

  1. Posting Pictures of Your Children

If you are online dating and you have children, never include your children in your profile pictures. Although they’re undoubtedly adorable and the picture shows you at your best, you want to avoid your children being enveloped in any type of unsavoury behaviour. Crop them out or take a picture that avoids including them at all.

  1. Where You Live and Work

Where you live—your street address—should never be revealed in your profile. It’s fine to keep this information general; for example, the name of the suburb you live in. This also applies to where you work. It’s fine to provide an overview of what you do but avoid including the company name.

Being vigilant about the personal information you include in your online dating profile will assist in increasing security of your identity. Remember that if you are engaging online and you have reservations about someone or your instinct tells you something is not quite right about them, you are safer to trust your gut and end your connection. This is particularly important if you feel pressured to give information about yourself that you are not yet ready to reveal.

Though there are undoubtedly people with suspect intentions online, it certainly doesn’t mean that everyone you interact with is tainted by the same lack of integrity. There are many people out there just like you who are looking for love through genuine connection. By applying the above steps and listening to your own intuition you will increase the security of your online profile and still make yourself available to potential dates.