In this information age, protecting yourself digitally takes some thought and effort. It’s important to be safe, but it shouldn’t limit your dating options. It is totally possible to date online without revealing your deep dark secrets. Below, the eFlirt expert recommends ways to create a digital bodyguard.
1. Chose a Unique User Name. Pick a name that you don’t use anywhere else in your life. If you use your IM name, your FaceBook vanity, or anything else already associated with your life, matches can Google it and find out more personal info. User names not only track back to you, but they often lead to your friends’ social media pages and info! Daters on sites like Match.com that require a paid subscription used to use the user name common to their life on purpose; so matches could find them off the site and communicate. These days there are plenty of free sites. If you’re budget doesn’t allow for a subscription to a dating site, don’t compromise your safety. Register for a free site.
2. Keep Your Phone Number Close. Give out your digits only once you’ve emailed a couple times and feel comfortable. If your match really wants to chat with you, they will give you their number. Before you dial, hit *67. It will block your number from your match’s clutches until you decide they deserve it. It’s even a free service.
3. Never Give Out Your Personal Email Address. If someone has your personal email, they can Google and find anything digitally connected — your LinkedIn profile, the MySpace account you haven’t used in 3 years but never officially deleted, and your membership to an alumni association. They are bound to come across your last name from their prowling. Once they obtain your last name, they can Google… YOU! Before you know it, they will know your exact work address. Scary stuff, right? Your email address should be treated like gold. Go on a few dates and make sure you really click with your match before you give them the keys to your Google Kingdom.
4. Think Before You Tweet. Unless you have set your Twitter account to private, anyone can read your updates. If you tweet your location, someone can find you. If you tweet that you’re out on a date, other suitors might read it.