Introduction Online dating is a growing industry in the United States, increasing in popularity every year.
The proliferation of dating sites has become a cultural phenomenon as millions of users flock to find romantic partners online.
Dating sites that serve cultures where arranged marriages are the norm have given singles a greater chance to participate in the process of finding a family-approved mate.
In the hope of attracting romantic interest, customers disclose sensitive personal information about themselves.
This information may then be re-disclosed not only to prospective dates, but also to advertisers and, ultimately, to data aggregators who use the data for purposes unrelated to online dating and without customer consent.
In addition, there are risks such as scammers, sexual predators, and reputational damage that come along with using online dating services.
Scammers take advantage of people looking for romantic partners, often via dating websites, apps or social media by pretending to be prospective companions.
They play on emotional triggers to get you to provide money, gifts or personal details.
Dating and romance scams often take place through online dating websites, but scammers may also use social media or email to make contact.
They have even been known to telephone their victims as a first introduction.
Dating sites have been accused of failing to take enough action to protect vulnerable users and intentionally misleading customers by using impossible-to-prove claims and scientific language.
This fact sheet provides information on the potential advantages and disadvantages of using online dating services, and offers tips to greater protect yourself and your data from abuse.
The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse does not endorse any of the products or services mentioned in this Fact Sheet. Dating Sites Harvest Sensitive Personal Information Online dating sites generally offer three kinds of services: 1) an ability to search for and see pictures of prospects; 2) a chance to exchange messages and set up in-person meetings; and 3) "matching," for example, recommendations for prospective long-term romantic partnerships based on personal information given to and analyzed by the company.