How to Handle Online Dating Privacy Issues

There have been numerous cases involving online privacy issues in recent years, and the legal battles between internet data collectors, brokers and unknowing citizens will continue for many years to come.  Online dating has been around for 20 years, and much progress has been made in regard to safety and privacy issues.  However there are certain things that you can do to protect yourself even further and limit the amount of potential threats to your online identity.  Here are 5 ways you can handle online dating privacy issues.

  1. Find the safest site

Every dating service offers its own unique services and features.  Some of them focus on speedy browsing or a specific market niche, while others value personal safety.  When you’re considering what service to use, keep in mind that your personal information is stored on that website and within that company, so find a site that is secure and trustworthy. You can even find sites that require verified background checks for all their members, these are by far the safest communities of singles on the web.

  1. Read the Privacy Policy

We’ve all been warned about the dangers of signing/agreeing to a contract that you haven’t read, yet we’re all guilty—does anyone actually read the terms and conditions of every iTunes update?  So who takes the time to sit and read the Privacy Policy of a dating website?  People who want to feel safe and protect their identity.  You’ll be able to find out if your profile will be indexed by Google, meaning it’s publicly searchable.  Some people are comfortable with this while others are not, but either way, you should know where your profile will be accessible from.

  1. Dig into your Privacy Settings before posting

Before you create your profile, be sure to find the privacy settings, and set them to maximum privacy.  If these settings are unclear or difficult to manage, send an email or call the company.  They should have someone there who can walk you through the system, and if not, you might want to log in elsewhere.

  1. HTTPS

HTTP and HTTPS are protocols that are used to transmit data over the internet.  Long story short, HTTP is not private, HTTPS is.  If you’re unsure of how to tell whether your connection to a site is private, look at your web browser’s support section.  It will tell you how to discern between private and public connections.  For dating sites, make sure that they use HTTPS.  If they don’t, you can download a browser addon that will turn every connection into a private HTTPS connection.

  1. Be cautious and deliberate with the information you share

Never publically share personal information such as your address, telephone number, place of employment, or anything related to finances.  As long as internet scammers don’t have access to this information, they can’t use it against you.  Post information about your personality, goals, and interests that does not specifically identify who you are.

 

Choosing an Online Dating Website

With 52 million singles in America, and 40 million of them using some sort of online dating service, it’s no wonder hundreds of websites and apps have sprung up to help you find your perfect match.  However, with so many options available, finding the right dating service can feel almost as difficult as finding the right partner.  Here is a list of questions you should ask yourself before deciding which apps/sites you should sign up for.

-What am I looking for?

Are you looking for casual dating, hookups, new friends, or a long term relationship?  Be honest about your wants and needs in order to find a site whose members are people with similar intentions.

-Am I an introvert or extrovert?

There are sites that cater to both.  If you are outgoing and you’d prefer to get to know someone in person, find a site that doesn’t provide a lot of information in their profile pages.  That way you can have fun getting to know your matches on dates.  If you’re quiet and more of an introvert, you can find a service that asks a lot of questions and provides more information on profile pages.  This way you can get to know more about your potential dates before speaking to them.

-What do I value in a dating service?

Every app and site offers a different approach to dating.  What is important to you?  Location, number of users, common interests, safety?  Before you start looking, decide what you want to get out of the experience, then find a website that caters to that value specifically.

-How much effort am I willing to put into online dating?

Some websites require you to fill out multiple forms, answer several questions, and then write a short essay about yourself.  Then to search for matches, you have to take the time to read their profile and figure out if you’re interested.  If you have some spare time that you can dedicate to your dating life, maybe these are the right choices.  If you are busy or lazy, then find a site that has an easier setup and matching process.

-Where do I think my future partner is?

Take the time to think about the qualities that you find most attractive and necessary for a successful relationship, and put that into consideration when choosing a site.  If you want someone to be detail oriented, find a site that requires attention to detail.  If you want to find someone with the same religious beliefs, choose a service that caters to your faith.  The more you can narrow down your wanted attributes, the more successful you’ll be in your online dating experience.

Keep in mind that you need to feel safe, secure, and comfortable in order to have a positive dating experience.  Make sure that the site you choose is reliable and filled with trustworthy members.  Sites that use background checks make sure that there are no fake profiles, so these are the safest communities for singles.

5 Reasons Online Dating is Safer than You Think

With 54 million singles in America, and 40 million of them using online dating services, it’s clear that online dating has moved from a trend to an integral part of American culture.  For years it was stigmatized as ‘unsafe’ and a place for ‘desperate singles.’  However, now that more and more people are utilizing online resources, these stigmas have begun to fade.  Instead of dismissing internet dating, people are connecting every day.  In fact, nearly 1/5 couples married recently met online.  With proper habits and precautions, online dating can actually be safer than ‘traditional’ dating.  Here are 5 reasons online dating is safer than you think.

  1. Search Settings

Now, pretty much every dating site has adjustable search settings.  This way you can filter results by location, age, and other aspects that may be important to you.  This way you can make a personal checklist of qualities that will make you feel comfortable, and all of the profiles you view will have matched your requirements.

  1. Linked Accounts

Social Media sites like Facebook and Instagram make it very easy for us to get a glimpse into the lives and habits of people.  It’s much simpler to find people with fake profiles, scammers and predators because you’ll see red flags all over their social media accounts, or they won’t have any.  If someone refuses to share their social media accounts with you, there’s a good chance they’re hiding something, and it’s time to move on.

  1. In-site/In-app messaging

Every reputable dating site offers free messaging within their services.  This way you don’t have to give away any private information like phone numbers, email addresses, etc.  It’s a safe and neutral place where you can chat with your connections and find out if there is any chemistry.

  1. Less Pressure

People often get nervous when they are put under pressure in social situations.  How many dates were held because it was rude, awkward, or just too hard to say no to someone’s face?  Online daters actually spend more time talking with their matches before meeting up.  This gives you the chance to get to know each other, and search out any red-flags that could come up when you meet face to face.

  1. Background Checks

Have you ever joked that you wish you could give your dates a background check before you meet up?  Well now you can.  Not only can you look through their linked social media accounts, but now you can sign up for a service that includes comprehensive background checks as a part of the member sign up process.  This negates the possibility for fake profiles, and anyone with a violent history, sexual predators, and scam artists are unable to gain access to your profile.

5 Necessary Ingredients for a Successful Online Dating Experience

Online dating services have been a part of our American culture for 20 years.  In that time it has grown from a small social experiment with market potential into a multibillion dollar industry that 40 million people are using to explore their options and find their potential partners.  Unlike searching for a date IRL (In Real Life), online dating produces a tremendous amount of data, statistics and trackable trends.  This makes it easier to figure out the dos and don’ts of internet dating.  Here are 5 necessary ingredients to make sure you have a successful online dating experience.

  1. A Positive Profile

Everything from your pictures to your ‘about me’ should communicate positivity.  Desperation and negative attitudes do not appeal to the vast majority of users.  Use pictures of you smiling and short, optimistic phrases to convey information about yourself, this will attract people with similar attitudes.

  1. Unique Details

People are looking for a match that stands out from the crowd.  Generic words are often skipped over.  Instead of saying “I’m a foodie,” say something like “I enjoy trying new cuisines, especially Mediterranean fare.”  This will set you apart from the crowd, and give potential dates a few points to bring up in conversation.

  1. Good First Contact

Online dating services offer in-site/in-app messaging.  This is where nearly every initial contact is made.  Your first message should focus on something that they are interested in, and ask an open question.  For example: “Hi, how is your week going?  I see that you love Mediterranean cuisine, have you tried the new fusion restaurant on Smith St?  Their dolmas are great!”

  1. Set Honest Expectations

If you have a list of deal breakers, it might be a good idea to put them in the open.  Don’t send a message saying “IF YOU DO ANY OF THE FOLLOWING DO NOT CONTACT ME…” because that displays a negative and confrontational attitude.  But bring them up casually.  If you are allergic to pet hair and your potential date has 6 cats and 3 dogs in their studio apartment, there’s a slim chance that things are going to work out.

  1. A Safe First Date

When you do meet someone that has potential, and you’ve found that you have some chemistry, it’s time to set up a date.  The first date should be casual and in a public place like a restaurant, gallery or boardwalk.  If they only want to go somewhere private, red flags should go up immediately.  On the date, the conversation should be light and honest.  Search for common interests, shared goals and aspirations and any similarities in senses of humor.  The main purpose of a first date is to figure out if you’re attracted to each other enough for a second date.

The Art of Online Dating

Over the past 20 years, online dating has changed from a new and untested social experiment to a multibillion dollar industry.  As the number of internet users continues to climb drastically, so does the number of people that use online dating services.  With 9/10 people using the internet now, there are over 40 million Americans looking for other singles online.

With so many possibilities and options right at your fingertips, it can seem a little overwhelming when you take your first plunge into the world of online dating.  Luckily, there have been many studies done, statistics produced, and firsthand accounts published about online dating.  In fact, nearly 20% of recent marriages were performed on couples that met online.  So how do people find success in the world of online dating?  Here are some tips from people who have experienced good results.

-Pay attention to pictures

Your pictures are the most important part of your profile.  This may sound a bit shallow, but it’s completely true.  For your profile, be sure to post at least 3 pictures of yourself including a headshot, full body shot, and a photo that conveys a hobby or part of your personality.  When you’re looking for potential dates, be wary of anyone that has only blurry pictures, or shots from one angle.  Maybe they just haven’t found a good picture of themselves, or maybe they’re trying to hide something…

-Positivity is always good

People are turned off by desperation.  Your profile should reflect your confidence and happiness.  Positivity attracts positivity.  Use pictures that show you smiling and use short, optimistic phrases.  When looking for potential matches, it’s pretty easy to weed out the users that are desperate or hopeless.

-Be (fairly) specific

Generic dating profiles get much less attention than ones that stand out, and creating a unique profile doesn’t take much effort.  Use examples directly from your life to show people your interests.  Instead of saying that you’re “an animal lover,” tell them “I have two cats and enjoy spending time looking at birds in the park.”  These examples will stand out, convey relevant information, and provide your potential matches with a few conversation points to get the ball rolling.  However, be sure not to give out any personal information that could put you at risk, or start writing your autobiography.  Keep it concise.

-Develop safe habits

Online dating has gotten much safer as social media allows us to glimpse into the lives of our matches.  However, that doesn’t mean that there are still risks involved.  Before you meet up, check out your date’s social media accounts, and if anything appears to be sketchy, ask them about it.  If they give you a roundabout answer, they may be hiding something.  Always be sure to have the first date in a public place, and tell a friend who and where you’re meeting.

Everything You Need To Know About Online Dating in South Florida

The era of online dating began in 1995, when Match.com first launched.  Since then, the number of adults that use the internet has increased exponentially, creating new markets, trends and possibilities that were inconceivable before the World Wide Web.  In ’95, only 14% of adults were internet users, now nearly 90% of adults are online, and this number is only going to increase.

Many people used to believe that online dating was unsafe, and that joining was a sign of desperation.  Today, much of that stigma has been lost.  About 60% of Americans believe that online dating is a great way to meet new people, and nearly 1/5 of recent marriages were performed on couples that met online.  Now, with 40 million Americans using internet dating services, there has never been a better time to join the world of online dating.

Southern Florida is known as a romantic getaway for couples on vacation, but what about singles looking to meet new people?  Match.com lists Miami as the #1 best city for online dating, and Fort Lauderdale is rated number 7 in the list of top ten “Solo Cities” according to www.bestplaces.net.  With stunning beaches, tantalizing restaurants, and a plethora of museums and galleries, South Florida is a perfect place to meet someone new.

Finding potential dates online is easy.  Finding the right person to date, now that’s the tricky part.  When you’re looking for a match online, be sure to pay attention to these 3 things:

-Profile Pictures: They should have at least 3 profile pictures, including a headshot and a full body shot.  It’s best to be up front and honest online, so your pictures should accurately represent the current version of yourself.

-Impersonal Messages: If you receive a message that sounds impersonal, and like it could have been sent to anyone, it probably was.  There are some daters that try to reach out to as many people as possible, regardless of compatibility.  These are not the people that you’re going to establish a lasting relationship with.

-The First Date: If you have corresponded regularly online, and found that you have some chemistry, it’s a good idea to meet offline.  The first date should be in a safe, public location during the day.  This is a chance to get to know each other and find out if that chemistry will translate into compatibility.

 

 

How to Build Your Online Dating Profile to Make a Good First Impression

With 40 million single Americans engaged in online dating services (sorry, bad pun), the internet has become one of the easiest ways to meet new people.  However, in order to have success in the world of online dating, you need a profile that will catch the eyes of like-minded individuals.  You never get a second chance at a first impression, and with the speed at which people search through databases, a good first impression is crucial when they come across your profile.  Whether you’re just trying to make friends, meet new people, or find ‘the one’ these tips will help you create a profile that makes a lasting impression.

Be accurate

Your profile should be a reflection of your current situation.  Nobody likes going out on a date with someone whose occupation is listed as “Restaurant Manager” only to find out they’ve been laid off and are trying to find a bartending gig just to pay the bills.  I’m not trying to say that people who are down on their luck don’t deserve dates, I’m just pointing out that people who are dishonest or misleading usually end up alone with the check at the end of the night.

Be aware of your photos

Photos are the most important part of your online dating profile.  That may sound superficial, but it’s true.  You should have a minimum of 3 pictures.  Of these 3 pictures you should have at least 1 head shot, 1 full-length shot, and 1 active or candid shot that represents your interests and hobbies.  Don’t post photos of you chugging drinks or partying like crazy.  This will attach a certain stigma to your profile that might garner the wrong kind of attention.

Be positive

When viewing someone’s profile, many factors combine quickly to form an overall reaction.  You want that reaction to be positive, so be sure that every part of your profile reflects positivity.  Nice smiles in your pictures, and short thoughts and quotes that convey an optimistic attitude are perfect.

Be honest

Intent is another one of the most important aspects of your profile.  If you’re looking for a relationship, say so.  If you’re just looking for something fun, say so.  You want to make the right impressions on the right people, and being up front and open about your intentions is the best way to do that.

Be concise, but specific

Remember the old saying from high school English class, “Show, don’t tell?”  Well use this same idea in your profile.  Instead of using broad terms, use specific examples to show your interests.  For example:

Instead of saying: “I like to travel and be outdoors.”

Say: “I’ve been to China, Japan, and Thailand, now I want to explore more of Asia!  I love hiking and being surrounded by mountains.

This will help you stand out from the crowd, make you sound more interesting, and give potential dates a few conversation points.

5 Online Dating Safety Hazards Most People Overlook

Today, there are about 40 million people in America that use online dating services.  That’s almost 50% of the entire population of single fish in the sea.  With so many singles out there looking to connect, it can be tempting to rush into the online dating world.  Of course by now we’ve all heard horror stories about sociopaths, murderers and other dangerous individuals that use these sites as hunting ground.  While it’s true that there are risks associated with online dating, using safe dating techniques can help you navigate the sites securely and find other friendly, interesting singles in your area.  Here are 5 online dating safety hazards that you should keep your eyes open for:

  1. Catfish

A “catfish” is someone that creates a fake Facebook profile to link to their dating profile.  If you’re considering meeting up with someone, the first thing you should do is check out their social media.  Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat accounts are often linked and easily accessible.  Profiles with extremely little information, few pictures, and no linked social media should send up a red flag.  It’s possible that these are catfish, and they could have malicious intent.

  1. Privacy

While a romantic picnic or stroll on the beach sounds like a lovely first date, the first meeting should always be in a public place.  Anyone that tries to arrange a private meeting, or suggests secluded areas may have an ulterior motive in mind.

  1. Nighttime

It’s always best to meet up in the daytime, especially for a first date.  Spontaneous late night meetups are dangerous, so it’s best to plan ahead.  Get a coffee instead of a cocktail.  Which brings us to the next hazard…

  1. Alcohol

While it may be tempting to meet up for a few drinks with someone you’ve just matched with, you should use caution in these situations.  Alcohol impairs your judgement, and it gives assailants the perfect opportunity to slip something in your drink.  Also, you should avoid going on your dating profile if you’ve been drinking.  You don’t want to make any plans to meet up later in the night if you’re unable to properly assess the situation.

  1. Finances

First date conversation should be light, friendly, and about your (hopefully) mutual interests.  Talking about what you do for a living is usually a safe topic, but anyone that pries deeper into your financial situation might be assessing you differently.  Steer clear of any conversation involving funds.  That’s a topic for a later date.