We can all agree that with our schedules overloaded and 24 hours in a day seeming too few to finish the day’s tasks, it is getting harder for us to go out there and meet new people in person. With smartphones becoming a basic commodity and providers like Spectrum mobile Hawaii making the internet accessible literally on our fingertips, we’re connected 24/7 anyway, so it makes sense to date online too. It’s quick and easy and covers way more people than we possibly could meet physically. At one point or another in our life, we’ve all given online dating a shot, even if for a very brief period.

It seems so innocent, you put in your name, location, sexual preferences along with some good photos, and you’re all set to browse through numerous eligible profiles to find the most compatible and go ahead to meet the person. Although what you do not realize is that you’re also giving away personal information that these platforms might sell to third parties to earn loads of money. Even if they’re not selling this information, it’s still at risk due to the common occurrence of data breaches on such websites.

Should You Care?

Yes, of course, you should. When you sign up to a dating website or app you put information out there for the public to access. It goes without saying that the entire planet does not consist of good meaning people only. A cybercriminal, be it a hacker or predator, can easily access the information and use it against you. They could send you a phishing e-mail that you can unknowingly fall for or if you’re a woman you could end up being stalked by some psycho.

Almost all dating apps earn money by manipulating free account users into buying premium memberships. Lately, they’ve started using sponsored surveys in return for limited-time access to the premium features to give you a taste of what it could be like to tempt you into going premium permanently by the end of the trial period. They also get paid by the marketing partner you took the survey for, who in turn will use your replies and data like your height, weight, religion, sexual orientation, likes, dislikes, disposable income, etc. to display their tailor-made ads to market their products to you.

It’s also imperative to remember that these dating apps have access to everything that you share while you’re interacting with other users, including messages, pictures, and videos. Usually, they would not hesitate to give it away if required by law, which could actually get you in a lot of trouble if you live in a country where there are laws against a particular sexual orientation or dating, in general, is considered a taboo.

How Can You Stay Safe?

These online dating companies are run by extremely clever people, who will convince you that it’s okay to overshare because it will increase your chances of meeting your perfect match. No matter what they say always remember that all the data you give to this app will not stay with the app only, it will without a doubt be sold to at least one advertising company and if you’re unfortunate a hacker might get his hands on it too. So be very careful and avoid giving out any real information that can be used to locate you. Do not share lots of pictures and personal videos either, because there are several ways in which these can be misused too.

Lastly, be very suspicious of the people you meet through online dating apps. You should never trust anyone right away, and if you choose to meet someone, it’ll be a better idea to go with a group a few times before meeting for a date alone.