This Valentine’s Day, Share Your Love, Not Your Personal Data

image0011Love is in the air and we hope you are all quite prepped up for having a great time with your loved ones this Valentine. This is however, also the season where unscrupulous cyber criminals could go after your personal and confidential data. The advent of dating websites, social media and mobile apps have made it easy for people to find someone they connect with, but it’s also made it much easier to overshare personal information without even thinking about it twice.

Thus, in an effort to better understand how consumers are interacting with dating websites/apps, Intel Security conducted a survey to see how people are sharing personal information with potential mates, and running the risk of exposing very personal details to the world. Intel Security’s Valentine’s Day survey revealed very interesting findings for personal behavior online. According to this survey, the majority of people who use dating apps/websites increase their activity around Valentine’s Day, which is why we have developed tips to keep yourself and your personal information safe in the potentially risky world of online dating. In fact a majority of survey participants have or would share an intimate photo with a dating app/website match before meeting them in person.


Some of the prominent highlights from Intel Security’s Valentine’s Day survey:

Sharing of personal information in the profile:

  • People are very open with the personal information that they share in their profile.
  • Many share their photo (79%), birth date (58%), occupation (59%) or email address (45%).
  • 20% even share their phone number and 11% share their work or home address.


Sharing of information with a match on dating sites:

  • 41% of the (former) users of dating websites/apps indicate to have shared an intimate photo of themselves with someone they were speaking with through an online dating website(s)/app(s) before meeting them in person. Males significantly more often share intimate photos (52%) than females (29%)
  • People share occupation (64%), phone number (60%) and email address (56%) with their match. 23% indicate to share their home address
  • 39% of the (former) users of dating websites or apps have met an online match after being in contact with them for less than two weeks
  • 43% of the (former) users of dating websites or apps have experienced a match who was misrepresenting themselves online


Valentine’s Day Specific Date:

  • 40% of the (former) users of dating websites or apps are more likely to increase the amount of time on dating sites leading up to or around Valentine’s Day


Access to information:

  • 27% have no idea what permissions they have granted their chosen online dating app(s) access to. Users who do know, most often name location (67%), contacts (37%), text messages (36%) and personal email account (35%)

In order to help keep yourself safe and alert of risks, while using online apps, please do consider the following tips:

  • My name is SuperClutchFan… well online it is. When using online dating platforms, make it difficult for cybercriminals (or stalkers) to connect your online profile to your real identity.
  • Hand out compliments, not your information. Always be stingy with your information online. Although it may seem harmless to share your location, name, occupation, age, first pet and mother’s maiden name in your profile – these identifying characteristics can be pieced together by fraudsters to assume your identity.
  • A fling might not last forever, but those pictures will. While sharing intimate pictures might seem like a good idea now, keep in mind that those pictures and videos will stay around forever. Even social media apps that say pictures go away can be easily circumvented with a screenshot. It’s not just celebrities who have intimate pictures spread around the internet!
  • Unchain your heart, but lock your phone!  Don’t forget to add a PIN or passcode to your mobile devices. You don’t want someone sneaking a peak at the pictures on your phone as you step away to freshen up in the bathroom.

In her latest blog post on Valentine’s Day –Intel Security’s Cybermum India- Anindita Mishra, shares a detailed overview of how cybercriminals can likely exploit the consumer habit of sharing personal data for their own benefit and how we can protect our privacy and data online.

Good luck and stay safe this Valentine’s Day!


Survey background: The online survey, commissioned by Intel Security, was conducted by MSI International. The survey polled ~4,300 adults ages 18 – 54, who are online and use dating websites/apps in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, England, Germany, Australia, and Singapore.