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The operators of these sites cull vast amounts of data from users (age, interests, ethnicity, religion, etc.), then package it up and lend or sell the data to online marketers or affiliates.

Often, this transaction is gift-wrapped with the promise that your individual data is “anonymized” or sold in aggregate form, yet users should be wary of such promises.

Try searching for the image using Tin Eye and Google Image Search before uploading it.

To maintain the highest levels of privacy, consider taking steps to obfuscate your IP address, such as using a VPN. Gaping security holes riddle popular mobile dating sites-still.In January, an Australian hacker exploited a security flaw in Grindr, the mobile app that allows gay and questioning men to find sexual partners nearby through the use of GPS technology.If you decide to sign up for a dating site, consider taking a few steps to make it harder for a dating site to easily identify you.Get a throw-away email address, avoid using your name, and avoid paid sites that would elicit your credit card number and billing information.Look at the privacy policy of a website before you sign up and see what they say about how they treat data of deleted profiles.

Remember that a privacy policy can change at any time; even if a site promises to discard your data upon deletion now, it could revise that policy tomorrow to hang on to data for a few monthsor forever.The most pressing concern is that information about you may be exposed to future legal requests that might involve a criminal investigation, a divorce case, or even a legal tussle with an insurance company.Photos in particular can linger long after you’ve deleted them or closed your account due to many large websites hosting user-uploaded photos with Content Delivery Networks.It’s good to familiarize yourself with the other available privacy settings regardless of which site you are using. Users hoping to create a barrier between their real identities and their online dating profiles might use strategies such as pseudonyms and misleading information in a profile to obfuscate their identity.However, just changing your name and a few facts about your life may not be enough.At least one study suggests that it’s possible that even photos you have never uploaded before could be used to figure out your identity.