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Only a few people know that it is possible to find out person’s home address while chatting on Tinder, OkCupid or any other online dating app. Seeking companionship online is popular, but it comes with many risks. Naomi Hodges, a Cybersecurity advisor at Surfshark, has a few simple tips for the lonely ones ready to put themselves out there.
Dating apps are getting popular around the world. No matter which app people use, most of them forget the importance of staying safe while ‘playing the field.’ In today’s world, hackers, stalkers, and cybercriminals think of ways to use vulnerable hopefuls, but there are simple ways not to get into the trap.
‘The scenario usually goes like this: a potential attacker sends you link to some page, say, claims there’s a picture of him or her, or a funny cat video. The URL, of course, is misleading and seems like a normal one. But then, after you click on it – the snooper can check your IP address’, says Naomi Hodges and warns people to be especially careful when clicking on various links.
She explains that IP address is not extremely significant on its own, but specialised and readily available software can be used to track down the physical location of one’s device: ‘Imagine how dangerous it is for you when a stranger knows where you live. Luckily, this threat can be repelled if people hide their digital identity using a virtual private network (VPN) service. It hides one’s IP address and soundly encrypts personal information. Thus, scammers cannot track you even if they try’.
Enjoy endless possibilities! Who said you can only find your significant other in your home country? A VPN lets you chat with attractive singles from any country in the World. Some of the dating sites are not available for specific countries. By connecting to a chosen VPN, you can quickly change locations in which your desired service is available or just to check the ‘supply.’
Companies which create paid dating apps often adjust their prices according to countries. Thus, if you live in Australia or New Zealand, you may be paying more than someone from India. Connect to a VPN, change locations, compare prices and pay the lowest amount.
If messaging gets more serious and involved, you would probably want to open your chosen app anywhere you are – for example, while dining out with your friends. Having in mind that free Wi-Fi in bars and restaurants is a goldmine for scammers, you shouldn’t forget to turn on your VPN when chatting with people.
Sometimes scammers create fake dating profiles to spread malware. They use various techniques to make people press on infected links or download infected files to be able to scrape sensitive information (such as passwords and bank account details) or steal your personal photos and blackmail you afterward. Usually, trusted VPN providers offer protection against malware – so you don’t have to worry when pressing on a potentially harmful link.