How to Stay Safe Using Dating Apps and Websites

Did you know your favorite dating apps may be selling your intimate information? Swipe right on privacy with these key safety tips.

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(Image credit: Susanna Hayward / Getty Images)

The personal data you provide dating apps (Scorpio! Dog lover!) feeds an algorithm that suggests matches. Though most companies won’t admit to sharing it with third parties … it happens. A 2020 study found that Match Group, which owns Tinder, spilled users’ political views, and in 2018, Grindr admitted to sharing its patrons’ HIV status.

We know you won’t quit on love, so here are a few tips, courtesy of Jo O’Reilly, deputy editor at ProPrivacy, to keep your private life just that.

Don't Include Identifying Information

Leave your full name, your birthday, and your place of work off your dating profile. Instead, use your first name or a nickname.

Keep your dating profile and your personal social-media accounts separate. You likely have more personal information on those accounts that can be used by hackers or scammers.

Don't Rush to Move Off the App

Take your time before switching to a private messaging platform like WhatsApp. Scammers want you to move to an encrypted messenger where their behavior cannot be easily monitored.

Keep Specific Details Secret

Don’t share personal details, like your pet’s name or your high school, on your public profile. This information makes it easier for hackers to guess your passwords; they can also use the info to send you phishing emails.

Limit Your Use of Location Settings

Turn off the app’s location settings, or use them sparingly. It’s better to cast a wider net than to allow strangers to pinpoint the neighborhood you live or work in.

This story originally appeared in the Fall 2020 issue of Marie Claire.

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Jenny is the Director of Content Strategy at Marie Claire. Originally from London, she moved to New York in 2012 to attend the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and never left. Prior to Marie Claire, she spent five years at Bustle building out its news and politics coverage. She loves, in order: her dog, goldfish crackers, and arguing about why umbrellas are fundamentally useless.