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The Dark Side of Online Dating: How to Protect Yourself from Cybersecurity Threats

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Even though it’s 2024, online dating platforms still cause a lot of skepticism. We must note that fake profiles contribute largely to that opinion. While many have successful stories that ended up in a relationship or marriage, some people can share terrifying horrors related to their online dating activities.

But why that skepticism? Why aren’t people used to dating apps? Why are many afraid to register for such a service, even though they can use some self-confidence boost or chance for a date?

The answer is simple – the fear of online scams.

According to ExpressVPN, the number of scams on dating apps is on the rise, and scammers can get really creative when it comes to catfishing and creating fake profiles on dating apps. So, online dating has both a dark and bright side, and it’s up to you to protect yourself from the most common forms of scams.

And you can do that by following these tips:

Protect your profile first

When you create an online dating account, you must use a strong password and two-factor authentication. People usually don’t pay too much attention to it, and sometimes it gets easy for hackers to access their dating profiles. And we all know that sometimes things can get too hot and intimate, so no one wants those things out of the platform.

Find a reputable dating platform

There are many platforms available, but you must stick to reputable ones. Do your research before signing up for any platform and read reviews from other users. If you don’t do this, you risk logging on scam websites and having your online identity stolen.

Learn the most common scam forms

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With a few days into online dating, you can become an expert in spotting common scams. The first challenge you’ll face is fake profiles that try to lure you into subscribing to some service or adding your contacts to a mailing list.

Catfishing is when someone creates a fake online identity to trick you into having something romantic with them. Sometimes they make themselves appear more attractive than they really are or even use fake photos for the same purpose. With the large portion of AI-created content, they can even generate a completely inexisting persona and hide behind it.

Phishing is also another risk, as your online date may send you an invitation link to proceed with talking on other platforms. Don’t click any links for your own good.

Even though being ghosted is something usual on dating apps, it takes a large part of your negative experience. But when someone tries to blackmail you or appear personally closer than they are, it’s better for you to ghost or block that account.

Don’t give out financial information

Sometimes people on dating platforms appear so trustworthy and sweet, even though their intentions are pretty bad. Many try to squeeze money out of the person’s pockets, especially when they feel like someone is falling for them.

So, if someone asks for money to visit you or even marry you, make screenshots, save the profile link, and report it to the police. Don’t share your credit card number details, bank accounts, or any username or password associated with your social media profile.

Don’t fall for sweet promises

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As we said, scammers often appear loveable because they know how to manipulate weak people. And somehow, naive ones are a very easy target. Scammers know how to spot your weak points, like a lack of romance in your life, and use them against you.

There are so many examples of people being scammed for money or lured into meeting suspicious persons, and they paid a really high price for it. And when we say high price, we mean putting their life at risk just because they were hoping for a little more romance.

Be prepared for any possible scenario

Sometimes things turn out better than you ever hoped for. Many people meet their soulmates using dating apps and live happily ever after. When you create a profile, you must be prepared for many possible outcomes.

You’ll receive plenty of matches, messages, and even dating requests. It’s up to you to estimate the risk and take proper action. For example, when someone is too pushy and asks for intimate photos immediately, you don’t really need to do any of that. If they insist on calling you on the phone or even meeting you in person the very same night – go away! Still, these are the easiest ones to avoid.

The real problem starts with those who are patient enough to lure you into their scamming network and use you for personal benefits. And we don’t even need to mention the predators who are only waiting for their next victim to sign up. The thing is, if you test their patience long enough – they’ll lose it for sure. As a result, they’ll attack you, call your names, or blame you that you don’t care.

And that’s how they are different than the honest people who give their online date enough time to adapt to the situation.

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What did we learn from all these tips? As you suppose, online dating indeed has a bright and dark side, and often inexperienced people fall for different types of scams. Sadly, there are cases when someone paid with their life for only wanting to date someone. That’s the darkest possible scenario, and we can’t ignore the fact it indeed happens.

Additionally, predators are always present online, as well as scammers. So, if you are getting suspicious of someone, it’s better to cut down the communication, block the person, and eventually report them to the police if they try to connect through fake profiles.

Even though dating services regularly check the profiles and delete the suspicious ones, it’s always better for you to pay more attention and count to ten before sharing something personal with someone you don’t really know. That way, you can enjoy online dating and eventually find someone who is a great match for you.