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.

dating apps
(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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(Image credit: Susanna Hayward / Getty Images)

your body, your business

(Image credit: Susanna Hayward / Getty Images)
Jenny Hollander
Digital Director

Jenny is the Digital Director at Marie Claire. A graduate of Leeds University, and a native of London, she moved to New York in 2012 to attend the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She was the first intern at Bustle when it launched in 2013, and spent five years building out its news and politics department. In 2018 she joined Marie Claire, where she held the roles of Deputy Digital Editor and Director of Content Strategy before becoming Digital Director. Working closely with Marie Claire's exceptional editorial, audience, commercial, and e-commerce teams, Jenny oversees the brand's digital arm, with an emphasis on driving readership. When she isn't editing or knee-deep in Google Analytics, you can find Jenny writing about television, celebrities, her lifelong hate of umbrellas, or (most likely) her dog, Captain. In her spare time, she also writes fiction: her first novel, the thriller EVERYONE WHO CAN FORGIVE ME IS DEAD, was published with Minotaur Books (UK) and Little, Brown (US) in February 2024 and became a USA Today bestseller. She has also written extensively about developmental coordination disorder, or dyspraxia, which she was diagnosed with when she was nine. She is currently working on her second novel.