You've swiped right on a dating app and have a match - so what do you do next? Check out their social media profile, of course.
But some online daters take it a step further by trawling their potential dates on search engines, professional networking sites and even paying for background checks according to new research.
The practice - known as creeping - is becoming increasingly common, with three in five (61%) of online daters admitting to Internet vetting of their match, while 6% even confessed to forking out for background checks.
But according to the study, released by cyber safety experts at Norton, all this activity actually reduces the chance of romance.
Almost half of those who have used an online dating website or app (44%) in the survey, say they have un-matched with someone after learning new information about them.
This includes nearly one in six finding photos of a person online that did not match their dating profile (16%) and one in eight finding photos online that they found disturbing (13%).
“It’s only natural to want to learn more about the person you’re speaking to online,” said Jo Hemmings, Behavioural Psychologist and Dating Coach.
“What’s important is that online daters are able to find the balance between feeding their curiosity – and perhaps giving themselves the peace of mind that their match is who they say they are – and veering into stalking behaviours, which could impact chance of romance. Because so many people have an online presence, it’s easier than ever to delve into someone’s online past, as made evident by this report. To avoid being influenced or disappointed by what they find, online daters should be wary of taking their searches too far while bearing in mind how much they too are sharing publicly online.”
Despite the known dangers associated with over-sharing online, four in five online daters surveyed use their full name on dating platforms (83%), posing a risk to their online privacy.
Of those UK adults to have embarked on a physical date with someone they had never previously met, only 8% shared their location with a friend or family member beforehand.
The study, which surveyed more than 10,000 people worldwide - including 1,000 Brits, also found that even those not registered on a dating app or website could still be crept on.
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Some Brits surveyed admit they have looked at the music account of a romantic interest (7%), while one in five aged 18-39 (20%) say they have scrolled through the social media feed of a romantic interest and accidentally “deep liked” an old post or photo.
“The research highlights just how much a stranger can find out about you by simply matching with them on a dating app or site,” said Steve Wilson, UK & Ireland Director at Norton.
“These services are constantly evolving with new features and ways to interact, but it’s clear that the information you choose to share on your dating profile can compromise your privacy. For many people, your entire online presence is fair game, and it’s important to protect your personal information because those you match with are often finding out more about you than you realise.”