Although app-based dating can be fun and rewarding, it’s important to protect yourself from privacy threats. With just a few bite-sized pieces of information shared through different dating apps, others can learn more about you than you might want them to, at least initially. When it comes to interacting with strangers on mobile devices, discretion is key.
There are many things you can do to defend against bad actors on dating apps. Wired recently published helpful dating app best practices, which are included here with several other important safety tips. Whether you are on Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, or some other platform, following these suggestions will ensure that you have a better overall dating app experience.
Think Before You Sync
Most popular apps today give you the option to sync your profile to other social accounts. Although the efficiency is nice, take some time to edit the details that will be imported into your dating app from other profiles. You may want to hold back certain information, such as your occupation and high school, which could help people find other social media profiles.
It’s also recommended that you use a unique photo for your dating apps. It’s possible to reverse-image search in order to find additional profiles that share the same profile picture. Set a different photo for your dating profile so that your other accounts stay off the grid.
Keep it in the App
Obviously, the goal of using a dating app is to eventually move off of the platform. After a few days of lighthearted and smooth interaction, it’s common to take conversations offline and exchange phone numbers. It is recommended that you wait as long as possible before doing this as your digits may give away other social accounts, including Instagram.
Fortunately, you can unlink your phone number and prevent dating app users from using your area code to learn more about where you might be located. Additionally, keeping communication in the app may protect you from receiving certain types of messages that you don’t want (e.g. elicit photos or links). And, if a date doesn’t go well, you don’t have to worry about a stranger having your digits.
If you are completely done using a dating app, it’s important to know that deleting an account isn’t as easy as you might think. Some platforms, like Tinder, require you to delete your profile in-app and others require you to email customer service personnel in order to completely deactivate from the platform. Be sure to go the extra mile and clean the slate completely so that no private information is left floating around in the cloud.
Everything in Moderation
For some apps, location sharing is essential. However, you can adjust your settings so that others can’t track you when you aren’t actually using the app. Change your location sharing settings so that your phone only displays your location when it’s absolutely necessary.
Before paying for any premium memberships, explore what you can do with free versions of the dating apps you install. In many cases, upgrading disproportionately benefits extremely heavy users. There may be a few alluring features that you’ll want down the road, but we recommend starting out for free and seeing what you like before you hand over your credit card.
Finally, cut down on the number of dating apps that you use. If you have profiles built across a number of platforms, it’s possible for others to build a comprehensive profile of you from small snippets of information that may exist in different places. Pick your favorite two or three and stick with those.