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Millions of people are using online dating sites to search for love or connection, but users should beware: many online dating sites are taking short cuts in safeguarding the privacy and security of users.Whether it’s due to counter-intuitive privacy settings or serious security flaws, users of online dating profiles risk their privacy and security every day.

If you use a photo on your dating site that can be associated with one of your other online accounts—for example, if it had previously been shared on your Facebook profile or Linked In profile – then your real identity could be easily discovered.

Face it (no pun intended): there are a number of ways your online dating profile can be connected to your real identity, especially if you have a robust online life. Before uploading a photo, consider whether you’ve used it in other contexts.

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.

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.