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Are Dating Sites Safe?

Anuja Marathe Kanhere Nov 23, 2018
If you are new to the online dating arena, you might feel that you are putting your personal privacy at stake. Let's understand if the excitement of finding cyber love is really worth the risks accompanying it...
Ever since the Internet has taken root in our lives, searching for a soulmate in our immediate vicinity has become common-place for many of us. Now that the world is becoming a global village, people of all ages are getting attracted to the glamorous world of online dating sites.
These sites are often considered the easiest and quickest way to find 'love', especially by those who find it difficult to spare time from their careers to look around for their perfect life partner. Some of them make hasty decisions in becoming members of online dating sites and start opening up to unknown people.
This might seem like offering a red carpet welcome to cybercrimes like identity theft. As far as the reliability of dating sites is concerned, it is a two way process. Users cannot be safe without the safety measures offered by dating websites; similarly, dating profiles on such websites cannot be secure unless users follow certain precautions.

Is Online Dating Really Worth It?

Do not tag online dating as worthless! After all, it widens your horizons in the dating game. It is just that users need to be extra careful when becoming members of dating websites. Here is a list of safety features that your chosen dating website should offer to ensure your security and privacy.

Paid Membership

A paid membership can be one of the foremost filters to ensure a significant amount of personal privacy on dating sites.
The money factor ensures that only those people seriously interested in dating become members of these sites. Of course, this feature does not make your profile completely secure. But it can definitely reduce fake profiles created by underage members masquerading as adults.

Background Checks

Looks can be really deceiving. It is not always possible for users to understand if the details of a person mentioned in the profile are authentic or not. In such a scenario, dating sites may offer a background verification of its members. This helps to eliminate profiles of people with a criminal track record or with any form of racist views.

Password Protected Photos

Most of the time, it is best to protect your personal profile pictures from online dates till you develop a good rapport and comfort level with them.
There are several dating websites that do not insist on uploading pictures. In case you find your profile incomplete without photos, then it is best to look for websites that allow password protection for them. You may reveal your password to your dates only when you find your relationship satisfactory.

Protected Personal Details

Most dating sites expect members to divulge crucial details like email ids, birth dates, etc. However, these details should be revealed to other members of the site at the sole discretion of the profile holder. Similarly, your dating site should not make it mandatory for members to reveal each and every personal detail in his/her profile.

Blocking of Unwanted Profiles

Dating sites offer a variety of profiles with users becoming members either for some serious dating or at times, just for pure mischief. Each one of us have come across dating pests at some or the other point of time. They repeatedly try to approach you, email you and seek your personal details, although you keep rejecting or ignoring them.
To overcome such problems, your dating site should offer a feature where you can block a certain profile holder from viewing your dating activity in any possible way. This blocking facility helps you to avoid receiving any alerts and messages from these unwanted profiles.

Reporting Concerns

You may come across user profiles that tend to use dating sites as marketing and sales zones. As a serious member of a dating site, you may want to report your grievances if you are being bombarded with unwanted advertisements. This feature also allows you to report cases of inappropriate online behavior and sexually abusive language.
Sometimes, user details and pictures do not seem to match. In such case, you should have the freedom to raise an alarm about a fraudulent profile. Such features are generally just a click of a button away. You can look out for buttons such as 'Report Concern' or 'Help' on your chosen website.

List of Profile Views

It is best to choose a dating site that offers transparency with regards to your profile views. Ideally, your profile should include a tab which lists out all the profiles that checked out your profile and photos along with the date of viewing. This will help you understand if a particular profile member is accessing your dating profile repeatedly.

IP Address Monitoring

Dating sites are often used for cyber crimes, where innocent users can be targeted for identity theft or phishing attacks.
Before you start online dating, it is best to first understand if your chosen website maintains records of users' IP addresses and online activities. This feature can help members track the identity and location of cyber criminals, in case such crimes actually take place.
A thumb rule to judge the safety factor of dating sites is to first check for the aforementioned features. Dating sites, by themselves, cannot be perfectly safe. If the users follow certain safety norms and remain cautious at all times, they can surely navigate safely through the field of online dating.