U.S. Markets closed

The Dating Sites With the Best Identity Protections

Eduard Goodman

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?

[Related Article: 7 Ways to Protect Your Identity Before Facebook Gets Hacked]

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 side-by-side comparison of privacy essentials every Romeo or Juliet should bear in mind this Valentine’s Day season. (See the infographic.)

Dating Website Score out of possible 7 Points
1. Christian Singles 7
2. eHarmony 5
3. Plentyoffish 2
4. Match.com 1
5. 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 since I met my beautiful wife with its help, the website earned low marks because it doesn’t clearly state whether its privacy policy has been reviewed recently.

[Related Article: The 10 Dumbest Risks You Take With Your Smartphone]

Now, 12 years later, 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 we 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.

This article originally appeared on the Identity Theft 911 blog.

More from Credit.com