Is Your Online Profile Too Revealing?

By Judith Bitterli

Editor’s Note: Internet dating is serious business. According to the Statistics Brain Research Institute, the internet dating scene generated $1.049 billion in revenue for the year 2012. And online dating sites aren’t the only place where potential mates are checking each other out. AVG Technologies, an online security firm, found in a survey that one in three young baby boomers (45-54) were also using social media such as Facebook and Twitter to research a person they might be interested in.

But Judith Bitterli, Chief Marketing Officer, AVG Technologies, cautions daters not to “throw caution to the keyboards and dive in” to the world of information sharing. “There are simple, basic safeguards to take when seeking love, or even just friendly relationships, on the internet,” Bitterli says.

Here are her tips for keeping your own social media settings safe:

Remove GeoTagging in Photos

Taking a picture on your phone stores the location from the phone’s GPS with the photo, so if you take a picture at home it could be advertising where you live. Across your social media and dating site accounts, make sure that all photos taken and posted on dating sites have geotagging disabled. You’re especially vulnerable on Instagram, where someone connecting with you can look at pictures on your picture map and probably work out many details about your work place, home or other frequently visited places.

Limit Personal Info

Personal information—such as DOB, place of birth, first car etc.— are all questions that many financial institutions use to validate you.  If someone can build this profile on you there is the potential they could mis-use this information for identify theft.

 Get A Separate Email Address

Use a separate email address created just for online dating, another one for password recovery, another for online shopping, etc. If you decide to stop online dating, or encounter a problem, it’s much easier to disappear from the site and dating contacts if you have set up a separate email address.

 Review Your Facebook Settings

Review all settings and make sure you are happy with what you are sharing and with whom. AVG PrivacyFix can help you review your settings, and also group your friends so you can choose who sees which posts.

 Public and Forever

Think of anything you post or send as public forever, and don’t be under any illusion that “private” services will keep your content private. Even when using services like SnapChat, the image may disappear but it doesn’t mean someone hasn’t captured a screenshot of it. Even photos posted to your private social networks can end up in the wrong hands, so always consider the consequences of a post.

Judith Bitterli is Chief Marketing Officer of AVG Technologies; click here for her free ebook on digital dating.

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