Wednesday, 17 Jul 2024

OnlyFans and Privacy: How to Stay Anonymous in 2024

With the COVID-19 pandemic wreaking havoc on the world, digital products, services, and platforms have grown exponentially. In fact, human behavior related to the digital medium seems to have jumped five years into the future, according to this McKinsey survey.

This growth spurt happened in countless corners of the internet, including the adults-only platform OnlyFans. OnlyFans boomed during the lockdown and subsequent social distancing periods, its Twitter following alone tripling from April to September 2020. At the time of writing, OnlyFans is the 429th most accessed website in the world. To put that number into perspective, sites like Discord, Deviantart, and Epic Games are lower on the list.

This means that a lot of customers are spending time on OnlyFans. And a lot of creators are setting up accounts to use it for financial gain. But what kind of consequences does this have for their privacy?

What is OnlyFans?

OnlyFans is a platform where influencers and celebrities can share private content with their paying follower base. Fans can either see the free content influencers put out, or choose to “unlock” content by paying a certain amount of money per post.

This platform garnered a lot of attention from porn stars and amateur porn personalities that wanted to share exclusive NSFW content with their fans — for a price. Adult content is what OnlyFans is mostly known for, and it’s the majority of content you’ll find there.

However, that’s not all there is to OnlyFans. A lot of influencers and celebrities use it to share exclusive information and content with no sexual connotation. It’s a way for fans to get a peek at the life of their adored celebrity. Still, the amount of sexual content on OnlyFans far outweighs the nonsexual content.

Considering the nature of the platform, both users and creators alike may want to take measures to protect their privacy while using OnlyFans.

How to Stay Safe and Anonymous on OnlyFans

Whether you’d like to use OnlyFans as a fan or creator, there are several things you can do to guard your online privacy and safety. If you want to go under the radar, you should start with setting up an anonymous email. After that, you can create your OnlyFans account and make sure you’ve got the right settings enabled.

1. Get an anonymous email account

The first thing you want to do to navigate anonymously on OnlyFans is set up a ProtonMail account.

ProtonMail is a mail hosting service that doesn’t require any personal information for a signup, so your identity won’t be compromised in case of a breach. We generally recommend this provider to anyone who needs to be able to stay anonymous while emailing, but it also works perfectly for OnlyFans.

The most important thing, in this case, is to use an alias when signing up for ProtonMail. Don’t use your personal name or any other personally identifiable information anywhere. Creating an address like “[email protected]” would hardly make me anonymous.

2. Create your anonymous OnlyFans account

After you’ve created that anonymous email, you can sign up for OnlyFans. Here you must decide whether you want to set up an account as a content creator or regular user.

OnlyFans Account page

Sign up as an OnlyFans creator

For creators, OnlyFans requires extensive information like your legal name and bank account details. Moreover, you’ll need to provide extra documents to verify your identity. These are a photo of your government-issued ID (like a passport, driver’s license, or ID card) and a selfie of you holding up the same document.

OnlyFans needs that information for tax purposes and to pay you legally. There’s no getting around that. In other words, if you’re a creator on OnlyFans, OnlyFans will always know who you are. However, this doesn’t mean any of your followers or fellow creators have to know your true identity. You can make your profile as personal or as anonymous as you want.

Also, if you choose to sign up with Twitter, OnlyFans will gain a lot of permissions over your account:

The permissions Onlyfans Gets Over Your Twitter Account

We’re not really sure why they need such a wide array of permissions, but it’s definitely something privacy-conscious users will want to avoid. That’s why we recommend that you don’t sign-up with your Twitter account.

Signing up as a regular user anonymously

As a paying customer, a ProtonMail account will be enough to keep your identity hidden from other users, but even then OnlyFans will require a credit card to let you navigate the platform. Your payment information will be visible to Stripe, their third-party payment processor.

In other words: complete anonymity in the face of OnlyFans and its partners isn’t possible, but you can protect your account from other users and the public.

Some people online report much more invasive sign-up procedures for customers, including requests for selfies and the scouring of social media accounts. However, that wasn’t our experience accessing OnlyFans from various places around the world.

3. Set up anonymous usernames and strong passwords

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Whether you’re a creator or a fan, if you’d like to stay anonymous, make sure your login credentials can’t be traced back to you. Don’t use your own name or date of birth, for instance, but a throwaway login ID. Aside from that, it’s always important to make sure you secure your account by using a strong password.

This means it should be difficult to guess and different from those on any other platforms you use. You can find more tips in our guide to creating strong passwords. If you’d rather use a password manager to generate, store, and pull up your unique passwords for you, we’d advise 1Password.

4. Set up two-factor authentication

Once you have an account, you’ll want to take some extra security measures so no unauthorized users can gain access. Whatever you do on the site, make sure to enable two-factor authentication. Here’s how you do that:

  1. Go to Settings while logged into your OnlyFans account.
  2. Choose Account and then click Two-Step Verification.
  3. Set up two-factor authentication by either connecting via your authenticator app or SMS.

To activate two-step verification, you’ll need to provide aphone number, a Microsoft account, or a Google account. This means you’re increasing the security of your account, but decreasing the level of privacy you have on the platform. After all, you’re connecting some kind of personally identifiable information to your account: either your phone number or one of your online accounts.

If you really want to remain anonymous, you could buy a prepaid SIM card to use as a throwaway phone number. This can be as cheap as two or three dollars, and you can use it on an older phone to act as an extra layer of security, without jeopardizing your privacy.

5. Change other privacy settings

If you’re a content creator on OnlyFans, there are several other measures you can take to protect your privacy. These include making sure you:

  • Don’t display your active status.
  • Hide your tips sum.
  • Make yourfriends list confidential.
  • Hide your media count, unless you want to use it as a competitive advantage on the platform.

6. Make conscious choices about the content you post

As a content creator, you’ll likely share photos and videos of yourself on the platform. Believe it or not, you can actually stay anonymous while doing that, as long as you’re careful about the multimedia content you post. For example, you can:

  • Make sure your face isn’t visible in any of the pictures to keep your identity private.
  • Arrange your background so that no identifiable features are visible, like unique skyscrapers, landscapes, or road signs.
  • Use filters and make-up to alter the appearance of your facial features.

Is OnlyFans Safe To Use?

OnlyFans consumers and creators aren’t completely safe from harm. There are several risks that are important to be aware of when you create an account on OnlyFans, whether you use it to post or purchase content. The risks aren’t as harmless as you might think. In some cases, OnlyFans subscriptions can even lead to problems securing a mortgage down the line.

It’s an attractive platform to many people, but it can also pose risks. Let’s delve deeper into what the risks are, and how they can be avoided.

Privacy risks

OnlyFans and sex work, in general, are often seen as taboo. Even if many people believe that that shouldn’t be the case, the reality is that affiliation with OnlyFans could damage your reputation in some circles. For this reason, many people wouldn’t want the fact that they use OnlyFans to get out in the world.

It’s hard for OnlyFans creators to remain completely anonymous on the platform. To get paid as a creator, you’ll need to share some personal information with the platform. This information is then outside your control in case of a breach. Moreover, some people go out of their way to expose sex workers on the platform.

This can be a struggle for regular users and consumers as well. You don’t need a hack or security breach to have your identity compromised. Any personal data you include on your account could be used against you, whether this is a picture of your face, your name, or your location.

Moreover, your bank statements, internet browsing history, or installed apps may give your activities away to friends and family. Any one of those scenarios can result in a damaged reputation. This could have disastrous results, for example when you’re a public figure with a following that disapproves of OnlyFans. Being on OnlyFans can also be the “basis” for abuse and discrimination in the workplace.

OnlyFans account hacks

There are numerous reports of paying customers complaining about account hacks. One Reddit user said their email and password were changed and their card showed fraudulent charges. In a grimmer turn of events, creators could even be extorted following a hack. Although these kinds of hacks don’t often come down to OnlyFans and its cybersecurity measures, it still remains a risk.

Most of the breaches we’ve documented, and most of the company’s shadier business decisions, generally affect the content producers more than their paying fans. When these types of problems keep coming up, it does stand to show that a platform may be unsafe.

Security and privacy breaches

Back in March 2020, 1.4 terabytes of content from OnlyFans was leaked on a cloud storage platform, making a lot of that exclusive content public. During times of security breaches and leaks, the stance of a company matters a lot.

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After a breach, most companies will issue apologies and lay out a plan for avoiding such breaches in the future. This shows the users of the platform that security is a top concern, and that the company is prepared to keep its users safe. Unfortunately, that’s not what happened in the case of OnlyFans.

The company issued a statement that no breach had taken place and that the leaked content was the result of individual users stealing content from behind the paywall and publishing it online. It’s unlikely that this is true, considering the huge amount of data leaked: 1.4 terabytes of leaked data can hardly be the result of individual users.

Even if OnlyFans is telling the truth and there was no actual breach, this is problematic. Let’s say this was a coordinated effort of users stealing content from behind a paywall and then making it public. This would show that OnlyFans’ paywall is vulnerable and that people can take alternate routes to access the exclusive content of OnlyFans performers. This makes all the issues we mentioned earlier about doxing and outing users even more worrying.

The Best VPN for OnlyFans in 2024

We recommend using a VPN service when accessing OnlyFans, considering their history of data and security breaches. You never know when a breach could compromise the personal information of OnlyFans users.

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) routes your internet connection through servers all across the globe, changing your IP address in the process. This means your location remains hidden from other internet users.

You can read our roundup of the best free VPNs if you’d like to go with a free option, but we advise choosing a paid service. While (some) free VPNs do a decent job, a paid VPN often comes with advanced security measures, more options, and a better customer experience. Plus, most of them actually aren’t that expensive.

Surfshark: a cheap and excellent VPN

If you don’t want to spend too much money on a VPN, Surfshark is one of the cheapest options out there. For just a couple of dollars a month, all of your online activities, including anything you do on OnlyFans, will be protected. Surfshark’s price doesn’t mean this provider is subpar in any way. In fact, it has military-grade levels of security, countless fast servers, and a very easy-to-use app.

For navigating OnlyFans anonymously, you probably won’t need all the options Surfshark has to offer. But VPNs can be used for so much more than just safe browsing. If you want to find out more, read our explanation of VPNs and their many advantages. If you’d like to use a VPN, but don’t feel too confident about Surfshark, feel free to have a look at our list of the five best VPNs of this moment.

Important: Remember that a VPN won’t cancel out any personal data you share on your OnlyFans account. If you use your first and last name on your profile, turning on a VPN won’t make those disappear. The only thing a VPN will do is encrypt your data so no one but you and the platform can read it, and hide your IP address, so the platform (and other parties) can’t see where you are in the world.

Are Payments Private on OnlyFans?

It’s impossible to stay completely anonymous while using OnlyFans since you’ll need to share some payment information with the platform. That’s a double-edged sword. It’s a good thing, because it creates a fair market for performers and users. On the other hand, it might be a bad thing for people that want to keep their activity on the platform a secret.

OnlyFans uses safe third-party payment processors like Stripe or SecurionPay, so the company itself won’t have access to your payment details if you’re a regular user. However, the payment processors still have that data, and they can be subpoenaed. So you’re not 100% anonymous.

As a consumer of OnlyFans content, you’re only able to pay for memberships by credit card. Anonymous payment via Bitcoin, for example, isn’t possible. Any purchases will show up on your account.

How do OnlyFans transactions appear on bank statements?

Payments on your bank account won’t look very inconspicuous, either. In fact, they state very clearly that the payment was made to OnlyFans, as you can see in the image on the right. In short, there’s no hiding your activity on the platform once you’ve chosen to get a paid subscription to any creator.

If you’re worried about this, you can always choose to follow people anonymously and only access the free content your favorite creators put out. This means there won’t be too many mentions of OnlyFans on your banking details. However, even then you’ll need to authorize a credit card beforehand. This will entail a transfer of $0.10, which will be refunded to you afterward. Even so, it’ll still show up on a statement.

Payments are not only an issue for users that want to stay anonymous on the site. They’re also a problem for OnlyFans. Payment processors don’t like platforms supported by pornographic content. That’s why OnlyFans nearly banned that type of content in 2021, only to negotiate their way back into the sex work industry right after.

The Shady Ownership of OnlyFans

Leonid Radvinsky is a Ukrainian-American porn entrepreneur with a history of lawsuits and a lot of allegations of theft and fraud. He’s also the majority owner of OnlyFans, among a lot of other similar platforms that are heavily focused on porn-related content.

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That isn’t the full story, however. Firstly, most of his lawsuits and legal troubles (as well as some pricey settlements out of court) date back to the early 2000s. Lately, Radvinsky hasn’t run into legal trouble. Secondly, OnlyFans has a lot of security features to protect both fans and content producers, so we can’t automatically assume that OnlyFans is a “bad” platform purely because of the past actions of its owner.

That being said, it’s not like Radvinsky’s businesses are squeaky clean. A report talks about the history of the OnlyFans’ creator and documents some more recent problems with the company. These recent problems include cases of:

  • Data leaks that nobody takes responsibility for.
  • Deplatforming without grounds.
  • Payment freezing without clear communication with the affected creators.

All of this means that OnlyFans isn’t completely safe for creators.

How Does OnlyFans Protect its Users And Creators?

There is little factual evidence to show that OnlyFans is a dangerous platform. Still, there are some technical and social risks that people are exposed to when using the platform.

Average users face the risk of endangering their privacy, but more commonly, face criticism from their peers. Content creators could face harassment and doxing, or even fraudulent charges on their provided method of payment.

A lot of creators and users don’t hop on OnlyFans as if it were a simple social media account. For performers, it can even be the job that pays the bills. If that’s you, you can mitigate a lot of the security risks by navigating OnlyFans anonymously, choosing the right privacy settings, and generally staying safe on the web.

OnlyFans hasn’t publicly clarified its encryption methods and other security precautions. We do know they work with HTTPS protocols — like any respectable website — but beyond that, they aren’t very clear about how they protect their users. They do attempt to reassure content creators and users that OnlyFans is a safe place.

In short, OnlyFans makes sure that:

  • The content you share privately is watermarked and cannot be screenshotted.
  • You have the ability to block users by country and IP, which allows you to avoid potential visitors from your own country or residence and block individual users if they’re bothering you.
  • The information available on your public profile is editable.
  • You can contact customer support to ask for additional help in keeping your account private. They can guide you through processes like two-step authentication or help you cancel a payment if your card was stolen.

Conclusion: Is OnlyFans Safe?

There’s not a straight answer to whether or not OnlyFans is safe to use. OnlyFans does have security measures in place, both for users and content producers. But it also has a history of security breaches, lawsuits, and dubious ownership. Not to mention, the nature of the site makes it a prime target for doxing, porn piracy, discrimination, and harassment.

We don’t recommend you use the platform, either as a creator or a simple user. Despite its laudable security and privacy protection attempts, it’s still a risky site. Some people might use it regardless of that warning. Whether because they have to, or because they want to. If that’s you, we understand. Just make sure you employ the right security measures to use OnlyFans safely.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I stay completely anonymous while using OnlyFans?
No, it’s not possible to stay completely anonymous while using OnlyFans. Some personal information, such as payment details, may be required to use the platform. However, you can take steps to protect your privacy, such as using an anonymous email and setting up strong passwords.

2. Are payments private on OnlyFans?
Payments on OnlyFans may not be completely private. While the platform itself may not have access to your payment details, the payment processors they use may retain that information. Additionally, payments made to OnlyFans will show up on your bank statements.

3. How can I protect my privacy on OnlyFans?
To protect your privacy on OnlyFans, you can set up an anonymous email, use strong passwords, enable two-factor authentication, and adjust your privacy settings. Additionally, using a VPN can help hide your location and encrypt your data.

4. Is OnlyFans a safe platform to use?
OnlyFans has some security measures in place, but it also has a history of security breaches and controversies. There are risks associated with using the platform, including privacy concerns and potential harassment. It’s important to be aware of these risks and take appropriate measures to protect yourself.

5. What can content creators do to protect their privacy on OnlyFans?
Content creators on OnlyFans can take steps such as not displaying their active status, hiding their tips sum, keeping their friends list confidential, and making conscious choices about the content they post. They can also contact customer support for additional privacy guidance.

6. Should I use a VPN when accessing OnlyFans?
Using a VPN can add an extra layer of security and privacy when accessing OnlyFans. It can help hide your IP address and encrypt your data, making it more difficult for others to track your online activities.