Online Dating – Risks – Do’s and Don’ts


In October 2016, Norton by Symantec bespeaks an online quantitative survey through Morar consulting. In this survey, participated 1,000 Australians aged 18 and over, of whom 494 had experienced online dating. The survey aimed to understand online dating risks and experiences of Australians.

The typical margin of statistical error is +/- 4.4% in the sample of 494 daters.

The risks of online dating

Nearly half of those people who have negative experiences choose to ignore them but some people are more seriously affected. Over one-third of people who have a negative experience stop using the dating site/app concerned and in a small minority of cases (6% in Australia and 3% in New Zealand) the incident is serious enough for people to report it to the police.

Almost 60% of all Australians and New Zealanders feel the need for website owners to do more to protect users.

This number indicates that as with regular dating, online dating has its risks too. When you post something online, it’s out there for everyone to see. While there are many genuinely nice men and women out there looking for a soul mate, there are some nefarious characters too. It’s hard to tell who is after what.

As with anything in life, your first line of defence is your instinct. Be watchful and cautious before you disclose too much of information online. You can run the risk of becoming a victim of stalking, harassment, catfishing, identity theft, webcam blackmail and even phishing scams. In order to help mitigate these risks, be very careful with what information you provide on your profile. Make sure your computers, mobile phones, and tablets have a reliable security suite like Norton Security Premium. Make sure the website you visit is legitimate. Sneaky apps masquerade as the real deal and dig into your devices for information. With Norton Mobile Security, you can use App Advisor for Android to help verify the legitimacy of an app.

Profile do’s and don’ts:

  • Create a username that you have not used on any other accounts. Your username can be searched, and anything tied to that username can come up easily.
  • The same applies to the photos you post on your profile. A user can do a reverse image search and easily locate other websites where that photo is posted. So, in this case, it’s ok to go selfie crazy!
  • Set up a free email account to use with your dating account that has a unique name. Most sites offer their own in-site messaging that protects the anonymity of their members; however, people will often move their conversations to email or telephone as they get more friendly online.
  • When the time comes for a phone call, set up a free Google Voice account, which will generate a separate phone number and forward it to your mobile. That way you can protect your phone number until you feel comfortable enough to give it to your potential match.
  • When choosing an online dating site, be sure to choose a reputable, well known website. Research the sites you’re interested in. Some sites allow you to either delete or disable your account. Since users sometimes return to online dating, the site retains your information. Make sure you check these sites’ privacy policies and verify how data with these accounts are handled. Some dating sites make profiles public by default, which means that they can be indexed by search engines.