Swiping right this Valentine month? Check privacy settings, don't use pictures with family to stay safe

To make online dating safe and enjoyable, remember these steps before swiping.

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When choosing a location and first date activity, it is advisable to select a public place, and meet the date directly at the decided location. (Representative image)
Valentine’s Day could trigger many to start searching online for that special someone. There are many benefits to online dating, such as pre-selecting possible dates while at home or while on-the-go, avoiding awkward situations or let downs when first approaching somebody, and simply having a large selection of singles that live in the vicinity to choose from.

There are also serious offline risks associated with online dating that could be avoided by taking certain precautions. Luis Corrons, Security Evangelist at Avast, shares his tips for a safe online dating life:

Before signing up:

“Prior to even signing up for an online dating platform, it’s important to check the privacy settings across all social media accounts, not just the one that will be used to connect to a dating platform. Users should make sure information such as hometown, current and past employers, schools attended, and photos are set to private. This information, combined with first name and location (which are typically required by dating platforms), can be used to find more information online, information users might not want strangers knowing.”

​Luis Corrons, Security Evangelist at Avast, shares his tips for a safe online dating life.​
Luis Corrons, Security Evangelist at Avast, shares his tips for a safe online dating life.

When signing up:
“When signing up for online dating, users should carefully consider what information they want to include in their profile, such as employer and job title. Users should think to themselves: If I were at a bar, would I tell this information to every single person at the bar, or would I only share this information with people I converse with? The same thinking should be applied when deciding what to include in an online dating profile. Users should also remember that a picture is worth a thousand words, meaning photos can reveal more than one might think. Users should therefore check the pictures they plan on uploading to their profile to avoid revealing their usual hangout spots, or even where they live. Furthermore, users should avoid using pictures that include family and friends, unless they receive permission from them to use pictures including them on dating platforms.”

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While chatting with potential suitors:
“Users chatting with potential dates should continue to avoid revealing too much information before meeting IRL (in real life), because one can never be sure who is really behind an online profile. Users should never tell strangers their email, the name of their first pet, their mother’s maiden name, or even the city their parents met, as these could all be answers to security questions used by online portals to verify identification in case of forgotten passwords, and could be used to hack accounts. Users should wait to add people as friends on social media, until they have met in person, and should also avoid clicking on links, especially to download an application sent by people they don’t know yet. Two years ago, Avast discovered spyware being spread via a seemingly innocent link to download the messaging app, Kik. Cybercriminals disguised themselves as attractive women using fake profiles, chatting men and encouraging them to move the conversation to Kik.”

When arranging a F2F (face-to-face) meeting:
“When choosing a location and first date activity, users should choose a public place, and meet their date directly at the selected location. Users should also tell a friend or family member about the date, and also consider sharing their live location via WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger with that person, so they can keep an eye on their location until the date is over.”

While on the date
“While on a date, people should remember what their parents most likely told them when they were a child: never get into a car with a stranger, and should also break off the date if they feel uncomfortable.”

Online dating should be enjoyable and fun. These simple precautions can help protect love seekers, both online and offline.
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Finding Love Online Can Be A Cakewalk, Just Avoid These Seven Mistakes
1/8
Everything in this world has become digital now. You can even find love by just one swipe of your finger. But some restrictions imposed by photo and character limits leave some of us at a bit of a loose end.

According to The Independent, two Reddit users asked men and women to list the red flags they've seen on dating profiles.

These are the seven mistakes people make while writing about themselves in a dating app bio:
Everything in this world has become digital now. You can even find love by just one swipe of your finger. But some restrictions imposed by photo and character limits leave some of us at a bit of a lo..
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The Blank Profile

You've already gone to the effort of creating a profile, typing your name and age, maybe you even uploaded one pic. What else do they need?
The Blank Profile You've already gone to the effort of creating a profile, typing your name and age, maybe you even uploaded one pic. What else do they need?
Bathroom Selfies

Firstly, that flash is obscuring the torso/chest/face you're obviously desperate to show off. Secondly, you're clearly a bit of a narcissist/you don't get out much, hence the bathroom. Thirdly, don't think we can't see that there's a toilet in the background.
Bathroom Selfies Firstly, that flash is obscuring the torso/chest/face you're obviously desperate to show off. Secondly, you're clearly a bit of a narcissist/you don't get out much, hence the bathro..
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Height

Short of stating your shoe size and your contact lens prescription, writing your height in your bio essentially translates to the following "I'm not interesting, I'm not witty, but I sure am tall".
Height Short of stating your shoe size and your contact lens prescription, writing your height in your bio essentially translates to the following "I'm not interesting, I'm not witty, but I sure am ..
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The group profile picture

Not only is this confusing as we have no idea who you are, but it immediately leads us to believe that you are the least attractive person in the photograph. Not a good start. Either bag yourself some beastly friends or play it safe with a solo pic.
The group profile picture Not only is this confusing as we have no idea who you are, but it immediately leads us to believe that you are the least attractive person in the photograph. Not a good sta..
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Dog/child photos

You're asking for trouble with either. Whilst the former will only bring immense disappointment when paired with "not my dog" in your bio, the latter is bound to catalyse commit issues in even the broodiest of broods. Expect an apocalypse if your photo includes both.
Dog/child photos You're asking for trouble with either. Whilst the former will only bring immense disappointment when paired with "not my dog" in your bio, the latter is bound to catalyse commit iss..
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Using emojis in the place of words

We get it, you like beer/wine/avocados and sometimes you smile/wear sunglasses/dance like a sassy girl in a red dress. It might be 2017 but the language of love is still a lexical art. Say it, don't emoji it.
Using emojis in the place of words We get it, you like beer/wine/avocados and sometimes you smile/wear sunglasses/dance like a sassy girl in a red dress. It might be 2017 but the language of love is..
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And finally

Remember, no one is everyone's "type on paper". You're looking for someone who "ticks all the boxes" but doesn't give you "the ick". You want to show that you're good at "grafting" but don't be "muggy" about it. You're ready to put all your "eggs in one basket" and are gagging to "crack on" but terrified of being "pied", so you're "pranging out".
And finally Remember, no one is everyone's "type on paper". You're looking for someone who "ticks all the boxes" but doesn't give you "the ick". You want to show that you're good at "grafting" but d..
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