Many people always turn to dating sites to find love or companionship, but the whole scenario is subtle since the risks involved are massive.
Dating sites have been compromised, and last year a site was hacked leading to people’s private information exposed. Besides hacking, users are also placed in a position where rapists are given a free ride to take advantage of them.
Online related risks are many; they include harassment, stalking and fraud. So how can you protect yourself from such risks?
In Kenya, anything downloaded from Play Store has ads that connect you directly to a dating site; keep in mind that most sites are fake. There’s an association known as Online Dating Association. Before you submit your information to a mysterious dating site, check if it’s a member of that association. If the site is a member, it has to commit to an industry code of practice that includes honest communication with users, protecting their privacy and providing a mechanism for reporting abuse. In addition, member sites have the ODA’s logo to indicate membership.
Choose username wisely
Secondly, on LinkeIn or Facebook one has the freedom to use accurate profile information because it’s a social platform. However, online dating sites are different. A friend of mine fell victim when online thieves tried to extort more information from him. Ideally, you don’t want your kids or wife going through your daily updates. It’s advisable to pick a username that doesn’t let everyone know who you are. So, don’t include your surname or any other identifying information such as your place of work either in your profile.
With usernames, most people prefer weird names like Cuty Smiley Faces or obscene names. I used such a name once and I got many texts. The provocative names will attract the wrong people to your profile or inbox.
In addition, stop communicating with anyone who attempts to pressure
you into providing your personal or financial information or who seems to be trying to trick you into providing it. If this happens contact the dating provider immediately to not only protect yourself but other users too.
Your password and security details should also be given good consideration. As a user, you should be careful when accessing your account from a public or shared computer so that others can’t view or record your password or personal information. In addition, don’t open email attachments from someone you have only just met and your internet security software should be updated.
When connecting with new people take your time and act with caution. It’s good to learn more about someone before contacting him or her outside of the dating site. Dating services run mail and chat so you can get to know people in a safer and way.
In case you are planning a hookup with a guy who proves to be offensive, insults you or has a threatening behavior, report the matter to the site’s administration. You can also Trust your instincts and immediately stop communicating with anyone who makes you feel uncomfortable or apprehensive.