Whether you signed up on a lark or maintained an active profile for several years, your online dating profile can be lurking around long after you’ve cancelled the account.In fact, dating sites have an impetus for maintaining your informationwhat if things don’t work out and you want to reactivate your profile in a few months?Grindr acknowledged the vulnerability on January 20th and promised a mandatory update to their software “over the next few days.” To date, Grindr's blog and Twitter profile do not mention a security fix for the flaw.

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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.

Here are six sobering facts about online dating services and a few suggestions for routing around the privacy pitfalls. Your dating profileincluding your photos—can hang around long after you’ve moved on.

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.

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.

Consequently, some scammers set up profiles on dating websites claiming that they themselves are widow(er)s in order to gain the trust of the potential victim.

Correspondents who quickly move to expressions of romantic interest or discussions of intimate matters may in fact be scammers.

If the website/e-mail ends with .gov, the address is legitimate.

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.

However, just changing your name and a few facts about your life may not be enough.

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.

The anonymity of the internet means that one cannot be sure of the real name, age, marital status, nationality, or even gender of the person in question.