Which Dating Sites Have the Best Identity Protections?


By Eduard Goodman

NEW YORK (Credit.com) — Millions of singles turn to Internet dating sites each year in the hopes of finding a mate. I know, because I was one of them.

In 2001, on a dare from my brother and sister, I signed up for JDate and went out with one person. Long story short, we’ve been happily married for 10 years and have two beautiful children.

In my brief online dating experience, I joined many other hopeful suitors who trust these services with their personally identifiable information, credit card numbers, photos and even details about their interests and lives. But is that information well-protected by the matchmaking companies? Winning hearts is great, but should you have to lose control over your identity to do it?

Our experts investigated the privacy policies of five of the top dating sites and rated them based on how well the companies protect users’ personal information. We looked at whether the company is TRUSTe certified; how recently it updated its privacy policy; whether it goes the extra mile to spell out privacy issues — such as the public nature of discussion board posts, overlap with social media sites or apps, or the distinction between “implied” and “express” consent — to customers; and how it shares information with third parties. Each category earned the company a -2, -1, 0, 1 or 2.

These ratings aren’t endorsements — they’re simply a comparison of privacy essentials every Romeo or Juliet should bear in mind this Valentine’s Day season. The maximum score is 7:

  • Christian Singles: 7
  • eHarmony: 5
  • Plentyoffish 2
  • Match.com: 1
  • JDate: -1

Christian Singles and eHarmony scored high in part because they’re TRUSTe certified and have up-to-date privacy policies. Though I hold JDate in pretty high regard because I met my beautiful wife with its help, the website earned low marks because it doesn’t state clearly whether its privacy policy has been reviewed recently.

A dozen years after using its service, I still get emails from JDate. Turns out they hold onto data for quite a while. My friends joke how out-of-character it was for me to try online dating, but that is the how-we-met story my wife and I get to tell our kids when they ask.

Or, if our information is stolen, shared or sold to a third party, perhaps our kids will be able to find out about it online.

More from Credit.com:

The Danger of Not Checking Your Credit Report

5 Things to Do Immediately If Your Identity Is Stolen

9 Ways Disconnecting Doesn't Make You Any Safer

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