Let’s be honest: Tinder’s the app to beat when it comes to the virtual dating scene. Millions of people have downloaded it to show their interest in nearby users.
The app is a lot of fun. You can swipe right to tell someone that you’re interested in them or swipe left to say, ‘I’m not interested.’ And you can do this on the go or from the comfort of your home.
However, this article isn’t about Tinder’s cool features. It’s about the various privacy risks associated with Tinder and other dating apps. Understanding these risks can help safeguard your online privacy.
Important: We’re not posting this article to discourage the use of Tinder. We just want to ensure that you and your private data will remain safe as you immerse yourself in the world of Tinder dating. As such, we’ll tell you everything about Tinder privacy and safety and also highlight the precautions to take to make your experience private, safe, and fun. Let’s get to it.
What Are Some Privacy Risks to Using Tinder?
Using Tinder can expose you to these risks:
Tinder collects your personal data
So when you communicate with someone over the app, you are giving your information to Tinder besides the individual you are talking to.
Tinder accounts sync with other social networks
Open Tinder, and you’ll immediately get a pop-up saying Login with Facebook. Many people opt for this option, as registering on Tinder via Facebook is easy and convenient. However, it blurs the line between your Facebook life and your dating life. That’s because logging in through Facebook gives Tinder the license to access certain parts of your Facebook account, including your date of birth, name, profile photo, email address, the pages you like, and your Facebook photos. Of course, it’s not cool to learn that an app meant to get you dates can access your personal information.
Tinder also lets you log in via your Apple account, which carries similar risks. And syncing your Instagram profile with Tinder is never a good idea. The huge user base means that everyone and their creepy uncle will see your Insta photos, so it’s better to skip the idea of connecting your Tinder to your Instagram.
You don’t want these two platforms to sync because that unknown person can take your Instagram photos from Tinder and perform a reverse image search to find your details, after which they could cyberstalk you. This also applies to other social media networks. If you use profile images from other social networks on Tinder, people you don’t know can easily find your other accounts. This is also possible with other details in your bio, such as your nickname and your profession or the NGO you volunteer for.
Perhaps the most secure and private way to create a Tinder account is to use your mobile phone number, as it limits the number of details you need to provide to the app.
Hackers could see and control your activity
Tinder has been subject to hacker infiltration in the past. For example, Tel-Aviv security firm Checkmarx reported that hackers could monitor Tinder users’ moves through vulnerabilities in the app’s iOS and Android offerings. The fact that the app lacks HTTPS encryption on its photos means that anyone on the same WiFi network as the Tinder user can see the same images and even put their own photos into the stream of potential dates a user approves.
In theory, hackers can glean whom you are swiping right or left through the data leaked from Tinder. And although the app itself is encrypted, the packers of data it sends are transmitted in three forms: right swipe, left swipe, and super-like. A man-in-the-middle could observe every swipe connected to the distinct package size and track the user’s swiping patterns.
Those new to Tinder might think that the app’s algorithm is showing them profiles based on their preferences. However, hackers could easily manipulate what profiles they get to see and even inject malicious code by placing new images in the stream.
Tinder Passport Privacy Risks
If you sign up for Tinder Gold or Tinder Plus (paid accounts), you’ll get access to a new feature called Tinder Passport. The option lets you switch your location to any city in the world, implying that you can even swipe right in places where you are not physically present. You might want to swipe right before traveling to a particular city.
However, the feature comes with some privacy risks. For instance, your partner could use Tinder Password to see if you’re active on Tinder while traveling. He or she could even create a fake profile to test your loyalty. Irrespective of how unethical it is to cheat on your partner, it’s not a satisfying thought to learn that someone can use Tinder to infringe on your privacy while you’re out of town, even if it’s a person you know.
Tinder Risks in Everyday Life
No matter how you see it, Tinder will remain an app dating service. So regardless of how you use it, it’s going to expose your profile to strangers at some point. You’ll probably have no clue of the whereabouts of these folks, so you could easily get catfished if you’re not vigilant. Below we discuss some Tinder safety risks you need to be aware of.
The main risk is finding yourself in a crime situation. Some web publications have in-depth articles about Tinder dates gone wrong in unimaginable ways. A woman named Sydney Loofe was killed by her Tinder date back in 2017. Other examples of people becoming a victim of abuse or murder via Tinder also exist.
Realistically, these types of crimes are challenging for the company to prevent since they happen outside the app. So it can pay to be extra cautious when you decide to meet someone you connected via Tinder in real-life.
Tinder Stalking Guide
On some forums and sites, there’s a discussion happening on the Tinder Stalking Guide. For those unfamiliar, it’s an online guide that tells you how you can get as much detail as possible about your Tinder matches. Following the steps can help you discover the personal information of over 40 percent of Tinder profiles by tracing down their social media information. Although this guide is no longer available on the web, it’s often easy for adversaries to find your personal information. All they require is your name and Tinder profile image.
With your details at hand, they can perform a reverse image search in Google to identify your other social media profiles. Do you cite your profession, your favorite movies, your hobbies in your profile? Then it’s easier for anyone with malicious intention to blackmail you. This isn’t to say that you should remove everything from your profile. But it’s worth asking yourself whether it’s sharing all sorts of details about your private life with people you’ve never met.
How Can I Improve My Tinder Privacy and Safety?
Give all the privacy risks involved in using Tinder, what steps can you take to safeguard your privacy? Many! Below are some of the recommended measures to help conceal your identity and location on the app.
Create a Separate Facebook Account for Tinder
One of the easiest ways to improve your Tinder privacy is to set up an additional Facebook account that you use just for Tinder. The burner Facebook account will prevent adversaries from getting to your social media profile. Make sure to use a temporary email address and a nickname when creating your separate account. And if you must upload a photo, make sure it’s one that doesn’t exist anywhere else on the web.
By taking these steps, you can make it notoriously challenging for someone you’ve just swiped right on Tinder to discover you online. Some might find it a hassle to log in to a separate account every time they need to access Tinder, but you can always use a password manager to log in quickly each time.
Be Careful with The Content You Share on Tinder
You’re going to find yourself in hot water if you’re not careful about what you post in dating apps. Even if you don’t share your full name or residential address, other people can still access your identity via other techniques. As stated earlier, an adversary on Tinder can perform a reverse image search to see if your photos are available on any other online platform.
One tip is to use a different image on Tinder that you haven’t posted on the internet before. Additionally, avoid placing links to your social media handles on your Tinder account – they make it easy to identify you online.
VPN To the Rescue
Most dating apps don’t have advanced measures in place to protect your data. They rely on HTTP connections to upload images, which makes them prone to man-in-the-middle hacks. If you want to prevent your information from getting into the wrong hands, consider using a VPN.
A virtual private network forms an encrypted connection between the server and your device. This prevents others from seeing your IP address, so they won’t be able to spy on your Tinder activity. A reliable VPN like NordVPN can help safeguard your personal information.
- Large server network and no-logs policy
- Easy-to-use application
- Industry-leading security
Reporting Suspicious Behavior
Tinder is getting better at removing criminals, bots, and fake profiles from its app. You can assist them by reporting any suspicious behavior you experience. Once you report an account, the folks at Tinder will investigate it and remove it from their app if it’s found to be run by a fraudulent user. Some behaviors that violet Tinder’s policy include:
- People that ask for photos
- Users that ask for a donation or cash
- Users that harass others
- Minors using Tinder
- Catfishing/fake profiles
- Inappropriate acts during meeting
- Attempts to sell products to others
If you notice any of these behaviors, you can get in touch with Tinder directly. And if someone attempts to harass you, you can block them by choosing “unmatch.” This will prevent them from bugging you through the app.
Use Traveler Alert If You’re A Part OF The LGBTQ+ Community
Tinder introduced an update a few years back to help protect the members of the LGBTQ+ community using its app. Called the Traveler Alert function, the app gives off a warning whenever you step into an area or country where LGBTQ+ people’s rights are restricted. Whenever you travel to such a place, Tinder will send off an alert. Plus, your sexual preference in your Tinder profile will become invisible until you go elsewhere.
Additionally, you can turn off the “Show me on Tinder” option through the settings menu for added security. Doing this will make your profile invisible to everyone.
Enhancing Privacy On Tinder: FAQs
Is Tinder Safe to Use?
Yes, it’s totally safe – for those who remember to take the necessary safety precautions. The risks associated with using the app include cyberstalking, people identifying your other social media profiles, and your partner checking on you when you’re abroad. Fortunately, taking measures like using a different profile image for Tinder and not mentioning your other social media accounts in your dating profile can help keep you safe.
How Can I Enhance My Privacy and Security on Tinder?
Besides using a VPN and being cautious about what you share, you can report suspicious behavior and accounts directly to the app. If you come from the LGBTQ+ community, you can also activate Travel Alert to improve your security.
Is 100% Privacy Possible on Tinder?
Additionally, Tinder may provide your information to third-party companies in the Match Group businesses network which consists of a minimum of ten big companies. These might be deal-breaker privacy-wise, but taking the steps we’ve discussed will significantly improve your Tinder privacy.
Although dating apps like Bumble and Tinder continue to rise in popularity, we shouldn’t forget the risk they pose to our privacy and safety. Hackers can capitalize on the vulnerabilities in Tinder to track your activity, or other users can see where you’re located. Tinder also collects your personal information, and the app’s connection with Facebook can expose your social media details to others.
These are a few considerations that every dating app user needs to make. Taking the above steps can improve your privacy to some extent when using Tinder or another similar app.