Online dating connects thousands of singles to potential matches every day. However, as online dating has become more popular, there has been a rise in romance scams and sexual violence. It’s crucial to set clear boundaries and stay safe.
Today, we’re sharing 7 tips for online dating safety!
- Be Wary of Scammers
Some scammers are obvious. Others resort to creating a fake identity (or stealing someone else’s) to appear more believable. Some tell-tale signs to look for are:
- Their profile has very few or no images
- They claim to be working/living overseas, despite looking for singles in your area
- They immediately ask for money (or pictures of you)
- They share sad, personal details about their lives to get sympathy
- They complement you excessively (or love bomb you) to rush the relationship
- They want to move the conversation outside of the app quickly
- They avoid video chatting and are never able to meet in person
Never allow a scammer to take your money or waste your time! It’s best to block and report accounts like these whenever you come across them.
- Stay on the Platform
As mentioned above, scammers try to get you off the app quickly. Staying on the app leaves a trail of evidence if someone harasses you or tries to scam you, which makes it easier to report bad behavior. Many apps also have filters that can flag suspicious activity and report the user immediately.
- Protect Your Privacy
Don’t give anyone your private information online. Cyber sexual abusers can use this information against you, and it places you at risk for being targeted. Follow these tips:
- Don’t link your personal Instagram (or other social media profiles) to your dating app profile.
- Set personal social media accounts to private, so you don’t share identifying information unintentionally, such as your place of work.
- Don’t use the same photos that are already posted on your social media – someone could use a reverse image search to find you elsewhere online.
- Disable the app’s location settings, if possible. You don’t want strangers pinpointing the town you live in!
- Don’t send pictures that are sexual in nature as they can use that against you or sell it.
- If you ever feel uncomfortable, in danger, or that you are being stalked, report the user to your local law enforcement. There is no shame in asking for help!
- Do Your Research
Do some research on your match before meeting in person. If they can’t be found online through a simple Google search, they may be creating a false identity. Look them up on social media to make sure they’re not using a fake account and have a video call before the date so you can confirm they are who they say they are. If they don’t show their face on the call don’t agree to a meet up. Ask any mutual friends for feedback. Any information you gain should help you make a wiser decision about meeting this person.
- Tell Someone Your Plans
Once you’ve scheduled the date, tell someone you trust about your plans! Send them a text before, during, and after the date to let them know that you’re safe. You can even share your location with them with an app like Find My Friends! Be sure to keep your phone charged so you can reach them if needed. It is always a great plan to do a group date or bring a friend if you feel uncomfortable about meeting in person for the first time!
- Drive Yourself
Your match may offer to pick you up, but arranging your own transportation is always wise so that you can leave on your own terms. If you don’t have your own vehicle, catch an Uber or ask someone you trust for a ride.
- Meet and Stay in Public
A public place is the ideal first date location. Agree on a place with lots of people around, such as a restaurant or coffee shop. If your date starts to make you feel uncomfortable or even makes a scene, a manager can help you call the police and safely leave the date. Never go back to their place or accept any rides from them, and never invite them to your place!
We hope these tips will help you feel more secure and stay safe in the online dating scene. Taking precautions in being safe is always encouraged. If you have any concerns or feel that something doesn’t make sense, trust your instinct, and cancel the date to protect yourself.
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