How To Improve Security Of Your Data On Dating Apps
Every dating app requires some personal information from you. And it is understandable since they need to make sure that your intentions are serious, no matter what you are looking for. You will be asked to confirm your name, location, sexual preferences, the goal on the website, and add a few photos. The whole procedure is quick and takes up to several minutes. After that, you can join the chat with other singles, view others’ profiles, send letters, etc.
You provide your personal data without even paying attention to it. But you have to, as it may be extremely valuable to other third party services that pay dating apps to receive this info. And even if the dating app does not sell the data of its clients, there is no guarantee that hackers will not attack popular dating apps with millions of users. Only a few weeks ago, Tinder, OkCupid, and Grindr appeared in the center of the scandal, accused in sharing personal information of their users. Yet, all of them deny these accusations.
How It May Concern You?
Almost all dating apps ask you to share your information with them. Once you grant permission to use your GPS coordinates so they could find you a date in your area, you may expect that this data will also be shared with third parties or may be hacked. But don’t think that this is a fault of dating apps. Every app or website that requires registration from you can have breaches or agreements with third parties.
The dating apps make you feel vulnerable already, as it is hard for many people to admit that they are lonely, and they are looking for someone special with the help of the app. And when it comes to data breaches, it feels like a betrayal. Your data may be used for sending scam letters on your email, getting your phone number, stalking you, stealing your passwords.
Why Do Dating Apps Share Your Data?
Usually, dating apps earn money by convincing users to pay for premium accounts or to buy gifts and send them to each other. But sometimes it is hard to persuade old users to subscribe to premium accounts, and there are not many newcomers who are willing to pay. This is why dating apps are looking for additional income.
Third parties offer dating app users to get access to premium services of the app for free after they take a small survey from them. And users receive the premium access for a short period of time while dating app earns real money for giving advertisers access to the valuable information about users. Usually, your weight and height or sexual orientation are less valuable than your email or phone number, but this information may also be sold to third parties.
Basically, the information about sexual orientation in some countries may cause freedom. In countries with zero tolerance to gap people or transgender, the users of Grindr may be punished by law. It may be used against them by the government.
Advertisers usually hunt for personal data only to improve their offers for the users, make them more individual and valuable. They use the information about your food preferences, your income, ability to spend more money, and so on. Dating apps also have videos and pictures that you share. And if they don’t have any intention to share that with others, these apps can also be attacked by hackers.
Remedies We Can Take Against Third Parties And Breaches
While dating apps convince us to provide more data about ourselves to help them find our soulmate, we have to be really careful about it. It does not mean that you have to give all the wrong data, including your name, as it may confuse other users. You can take the next steps to increase your security level:
- Free dating apps are good, but usually have to make income from somewhere. They would not be interested in providing you free services, supporting the app for nothing. Most likely, they can agree to sell your data. It is better to sign up for apps that require payments from you;
- You don’t have to put your real name in the app. User your nickname. It can be cute and creative, and hackers may be confused with you account details;
- If the dating app asks you specifically to give your personal address or phone number, think twice whether you need this app. It is better for you not to give up any addresses via the app. Be careful when you are giving your phone number or private email to the other users of the app;
- Some users may ask you to continue the conversation elsewhere. They can suggest Messenger, WhatsApp, or Skype. If you are not 100 percent sure about them, it is better to avoid switching the place. These users can be scammers. Don’t give them your personal information and addresses of your accounts elsewhere;
- You may search for people from your area yourself. You don’t need to give your location coordinates to the dating app. Turn it off if you have found everything you wanted;
Put the minimum personal information in the app. The app does not actually need to know or display information about your education or current work position. If the dating app asks such questions, try to avoid them.
Is All Your Data Shared With Third Parties?
While all the dating apps deny the possibility of them sharing your data with other apps that may be potentially harmful to you, nobody can give you a guarantee. The least of your problems can be if these apps share your data with advertising companies. The biggest problem may appear if there are breaches in the apps’ security, or they willingly share your personal information with the government, scammers, and organizations that may use the information against you.
It does not mean that you don’t have to use these dating apps. Dating apps are one of the easiest and possibly the only working way for many of us to find true love nowadays. Yet, if you find any scam involved, any fishy questions asked, you have to leave the dating app immediately, erasing all your data before that. There are dozens of huge dating apps, and you will definitely find the one that suits you. Share your opinion about dating apps and your experience with them in the comments below.