Should You Use Your Real Name on Online Dating Sites & Apps? [Answered]

We all have a big question to answer when signing up for that online dating website or app for the first time: should we use our real name or not?

Using your real name in online dating can be risky for many reasons. People who reveal their real names can easily be tracked down on the internet and various potential secrets revealed. Not to mention safety issues and other potential privacy issues.

As a result, we can start by concluding that it’s best not to use your real name in the online dating world. Use a nickname instead and wait to build trust with those you are talking to before revealing your real name to them (if ever).

Fortunately, most online dating sites do not have a problem with you not disclosing your real name publicly (although many will actually require it, but keep it private).

So if you’re unsure whether or not to use your real name in online dating, here are some things to keep in mind:

Avoiding scams

The first and foremost tip to avoid scams online is to keep your profile as anonymous as possible.

privacy when online dating

Scammers flood dating websites with fake profiles and wait for potential victims to contact them.

Never give out too much information about yourself when you’re on a dating website. Personal information such as your last name and first school can be misused to manipulate you or to guess passwords.

Don’t send money – especially on reloadable debit cards – to anyone you meet online.

Before sending money to someone you meet online, use your common sense and avoid giving them any personal information. Scammers typically use these details to scam their victims.

Never give out your bank account details to strangers, as these are generally unrecoverable.

If you have doubts about the authenticity of a potential partner, you should stop communicating with them or make sure that they really are who they claim to be.

Scammers use elaborate stories to fool their victims. They may even lure victims over the phone for days, weeks, or even months. They may even have multiple identities to keep you from knowing who they are.

In order to protect themselves, scammers use fake profiles and photos and use e-mail and messaging apps to keep communication confidential.

I have written more in depth about avoiding online dating scams in this article – make sure to check it out right away to learn how to add extra layers of protection to your profile and identity.

Avoiding coming off as shady

In online dating, it’s easy to come off as shady. The anonymity of an online profile, the false sense of security, and the expectations associated with meeting a person’s face make lying easy.

But this doesn’t mean that you should reveal your real name. Just pay attention to some signs and signals and everything will be alright.

Here are a few tips to avoid coming off as shady when not using your real name in online dating:

Use real photos! Don’t go for stock images or very generic things. It’s virtually impossible for somebody to recognize you on an online dating site – and if they do, it means that you already know them personally.

online dating privacy

Don’t use the same profile photo as on other websites, like social media (Facebook for example) as it is easy for people to perform a reverse-image search and potentially find you. Use unique photos specifically created for that online dating website instead.

Only use trusted and trustworthy websites. We have listed plenty of great dating websites that you can really trust on this site. From generic countries to the best ones in the Balkans or Latin America, we have them all so it’s easy to find them.

Finally, in order not to come off as shady, just be yourself. It’s true that knowing a person’s name makes us trust them more, but at the same time, if you are a genuine, real human being, nobody will have any problems understanding your need for privacy.

Creating a username that you have not used on any other accounts

online dating man and woman

A good username should not have personal information, like your first or last name. This is because your username will be linked to your other online accounts, whether they are benign marketing campaigns or malicious ones, like identity theft.

If you’re looking for privacy, it makes sense to use a specific username for dating websites, and not one you use all over the internet. If you do the latter, it’s going to be easy for others to find out more about you.

Here are three tips to ensure that you have a unique username on every online dating website (or at least have a good one on ALL dating sites that you’re using).

First, avoid using a username with any sexual connotations. Creating a username that contains sexual connotations will only draw attention from people who are seeking a hookup or put off many others (especially female).

Moreover, your username will follow you throughout your relationship, and you don’t want to attract those types of people.

Second, choosing a username that is not similar to your real name will protect your identity. Many online daters are concerned about malware, scammers, and malicious links.

Finally, one-third of online daters don’t limit their online personal information. To protect yourself from online dating scammers, you can use a username that you have never used before.


As we’ve seen above, using your real name on online dating platforms – either as your username or revealing it to people you speak with – shouldn’t be done. At the very most, do this with the utmost care and only reveal it to people you end up trusting completely.

There’s always a risk associated with revealing your identity to strangers, no matter how well you think you know them, so my advice is to always try to be safe.

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