Crimes relating to dating apps have increased by 560 per cent in the last two years, with 2015 seeing a huge 412 crimes linked to Tinder and Grindr alone. In light of these figures, and with Valentine’s day around the corner, Kaspersky Lab is warning of the importance of keeping personal information private, even if you are keen for romance. The dangers of over-sharing aren’t always obvious, and people mustn’t adopt a false sense of security when posting information online.
David Emm, principal security researcher at Kaspersky Lab says, “Unfortunately, not all dating sites have good security. So those using them must exercise their own vigilance to help protect themselves. The risks may seem daunting, but there are things you can do to help protect yourself against these.”
Kaspersky Lab recommends the following when using these types of apps all-year-round:
- Don’t blindly believe people on dating sites – A sexy blonde can easily turn out to be a bored bearded man or even a robot. Do you remember the actual number of women users on Ashley Madison? Of the advertised 37 million registered users, only about 12,000 belonged to real women. Most of the others were either men or bots.
- Don’t use your real surname – Restrict yourself to a first name only or choose a nickname. Posting your last name and photo means anybody can easily find you on Facebook or LinkedIn.
- Avoid linking your dating profiles to your social media accounts – Linking your dating profile app with your Facebook and/or Instagram accounts is not a good idea mainly because of burglars and fraudsters. People often post status updates when they go on vacation, check in at the airport or publish photos with newly bought goods, including jewellery and gadgets. Doing this is a perfect way to invite burglars into your house.
- Once it’s posted it’s public, forever – Most importantly, always think twice before sharing your private information in these very public ways.
David Emm advises, “Online or offline, meeting strangers will always have inherent risks. As such, it pays to take the same precautions when arranging a date with someone you’ve met online as you would in ‘real life’. For instance you wouldn’t arrange to meet someone down a dark alley having told no one where you were going. Whilst taking sensible precautions might not make you totally safe, it limits your exposure to risk”.