Preventing Online Stalking When Using Dating Apps

In 2019, it seems like most single adults with a smart phone have given dating apps a go. They are either the light at the end of a long and lonely tunnel or someone’s worst nightmare. The sheer volume of Youtube videos about bad Tinder dates says that there’s no guarantee when it comes to meeting people online. Technology have facilitated people with malicious intents, or plain creepiness, to gain access to unsuspecting individuals’ information. For example, these apps usually indicate your location in proximity to others, and it doesn’t take much for a tech-enthused stalker to find your IP address and track you down.

If you are a frequent user, you need to make safety a primary concern. To do this, there are a few tips you need to keep in mind whether you’re swiping left or right.


1. IP Address = Your Home Address

Anything we do on the Internet uses our IP Address, an address given to your device on a network. Think of it as your home address. Now, when your data goes out to the Internet, your IP address is usually shown as a public IP address. For example, your IP address of 192.168.10.1 may be shown as 99.168.0.1. This keeps your IP address from being clearly shown to anyone on the Internet.

Though, if someone were to put in enough work and time, they’d be able to track your private IP address with your public IP. This would mean that that person can find your whereabouts with your IP address. Your location, name, etc. All there for them.

Dating apps are no different. If a stalker knew how to track your IP address, they could. Fortunately, there are ways to hide your IP address from people who may use it for suspicious activities. Main solution being a VPN. With a VPN, you can set your IP address to constantly change or stay hidden from plain sight. This way, tracking you becomes much more difficult, if not impossible.
 
Main solution being a VPN. With a good VPN, you can set your IP address to constantly change or stay hidden from plain sight. This way, tracking you becomes much more difficult, if not impossible.

2. Meet at a Public Location

Of course, there are some potentially-dangerous people that don’t show a threatening side until you meet them, so it’s important to make sure that when you do meet them, it’s in a public location. For example, the local Starbucks. Somewhere that a lot of people will be present.

If someone you barely know asks to meet you at their house immediately, don’t. Being trapped in someone’s home is a lot more dangerous than being chased in a parking lot. If you don’t truly know this person, take extra steps to be cautious.

3. Lastly, Don’t Reveal Too Much Information

When creating an account on a dating app, there are a few required pieces of information. Name, city, description, and maybe where you study. That’s it. This is all a potential love interest needs to know about you.

It’s important to not spill everything about yourself on the first date. Don’t let them know your home address, your place of work, etc. until you know enough about the other person.

Your personal information is personal for a reason. You don’t need some failed date to show up at your workplace causing trouble. You also don’t want them showing up at your house at 3 in the morning with a boombox singing N’Sync. Keep as much to yourself as you can while you’re still new to each other.

Online dating has helped many people find their second half, but it’s also caused a fair share of trouble for others. Try not to let yourself be the former. Because you never truly know someone on the first date.
 
 
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