How to stay safe dating online?

Have you seen the show on Netflix, Tinder Swindler? It is a true story of three women who got scammed millions of dollars into a scammer posing as a lover in Tinder. It is heartbreaking to see how these victims got ripped off their money innocently to a criminal who used their emotional vulnerabilities to get what he wanted.

When it comes to dating, much has changed due to ever-evolving technology. Dating online has become the new norm surpassing the traditional courtship. I bet there are only a few couples left compared to the general public who can brag about meeting at a dog park or the market. Most millennials have opted for dating online, and with the rising number of dating sites and apps, the singles looking for love can now connect easily and quickly with each other.

Nonetheless, safety on these online dating sites has become questionable as many crimes have been reported, and many users have fallen victims to scams. Sadly, online dating sites don’t check the criminal background of users thoroughly, leaving the public at risk of meeting potential scammers and criminals.

In today’s article, we share tips on how to stay safe dating online.

Tips on how to stay safe dating online

The number of crimes being linked to online dating is simply just shocking. And it’s growing fast. Theft, assault, blackmail, it’s real, and it’s happening to people who date online.

Picture sharing. The pictures you set up on your online dating profiles are essential. Avoid using provocative images or sharing nude pictures as they can become risky, used against you for blackmail, or even bring attention you were not hoping for. Use a simple online handle and pictures that don’t reveal too much flesh on your online dating profiles. This will minimize the chance of you becoming a target of blackmails.

Google them. Run a background check on your online suitors and see how much information you can gather about them and whether they seem genuine. Additionally, do a Google image search on them to see the places where their images may appear. Check them online on different social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter and see if you two, by chance, share common friends. This can be a great way to understand where they come from. Chances are, they are likely doing the same check on you.

Humans have inbuild systems to know when something is not right. If you’re talking to someone, or on a date and something ‘feels off’, that’s your internal warning system kicking in. Get out of there.

Trust your gut. You’re going through a person’s profile, and you’ve done a quick check on their social media pages, and after all that, you still have doubts about them. Something to do with your instincts doesn’t lie, so listen to your gut feeling, trust it and abort the mission. Assume you already like someone, and you really don’t know what to make of them. It’s a brilliant idea to share it with a trusted friend and listen to their perspective to get some clarity. There is a 70% chance that you both can’t be wrong.

Consider the risks. When using dating sites, be open to the idea that you could potentially meet criminals or scammers. Be aware of the profiles that seem too good to be true. For instance, if a person portrays themselves as a son of a well-known billionaire or famous person (like in Tinder Swindler), double-check on that. They are probably scammers. Meeting someone online can be a challenge (a genuine person). Make sure to do your due diligence before getting invested emotionally in someone you meet online. For starters, if you need to create a profile for dating online, search dating site that is common and safe to use.

Here are some more tips on how to stay safe dating online!

When Connecting or Dating Online

Online dating can be a great experience, as long as you stay aware of your safety and don’t rush anything. Don’t forget, anyone can be anyone, online.

Protect Your Personal Information. When talking to a person on dating sites, never share with them your personal information such as home/work address, credit card number, social security number, or any details about your routines (e.g. going to a particular gym every Tuesday) with individuals you don’t really know well or at all. For your safety, keep sensitive information away from the public.

Keep conversations on dating sites. When dating online and you’re getting to know a new person, keep the conversation on the dating platform you are using for safety purposes. Scammers have a tendency of trying to take conversations off dating sites to text messages, emails, or even phone calls. By isolating you from the dating sites, a scammer can easily convince you to share sensitive information by playing psychological tricks you may fall for.

Avoid linking with suspicious online dating profiles. Meeting someone online requires some sort of intelligence. If you are matched with a person who has no bio on their profiles, posted only one picture, or has not linked any social media accounts to their profile, arguably, it may be a fake account. Approach with caution since it’s a red flag to connect with someone you have no solid information about them.

Reject any requests involving money. Imagine you’re just getting to know someone on a dating site, and they drop the act of playing a victim of an accident or any event that seems to make them “need” money urgently. Guess who is going to get the money request? If you’ve been talking to them for a little while, you could potentially become an ATM and bankroll these criminals after falling for their fraudulent tricks. If anyone asks for money on any dating sites, make sure you report them immediately and cut all the communication with them.

Be cautious of overseas and long-distance relationships. Keep an eye on individuals who claim to be from overseas or stuck someplace where they need financial aid to help them get back home. Avoid such individuals particularly if you have not known them well because they may not be who they seem to appear. Note that if a person is dodging your questions or pushes for a serious relationship without you guys meeting in person first, that’s a huge red flag.

Get to know them better. One of the greatest challenges of dating online is to get to know your suitor well. Meeting someone online can be easy but getting them to share their truths with you and building trust is something else. It is always a great idea to try to probe further and ask your online suitor to open up a bit about themselves and see what you both share in common. This is very important because it helps to build a bridge of trust even before you get to meet in person.

Username Lookups can quickly find associated accounts on different dating websites. Make sure you use a unique username (and run it through a checker like UserSearch.org before you commit to a username!

Protect your account. When setting up an online dating profile on any dating site, be sure to use a username that you’ve never used before. This stops people from finding all your other online accounts online. How? UserSearch.org has the largest list of online dating and social network sites available, where you can perform ‘username lookups’. Try it out on yourself before dating online.

Also, enhance your account security. Securing your account with a strong password is the first step of ensuring your safety. Choose a strong password and be careful always when accessing your account using public Wi-Fi or shared computers. Scammers may attack your account and hack it if it’s easily accessible. This is common when using public Wi-Fi or shared devices to log in to your accounts. If you receive a message or email asking for your account details, it may be an attempt to hack your account. Report this immediately.

Report any offensive and suspicious behavior. The only way you can be sure to stop an individual from hurting others is by reporting them so that they can be blocked from using that dating site. If you encounter a person who violates terms on dating sites, don’t hesitate to block and report them.

Examples of violations:

  • Money requests/donations.
  • Underage users.
  • Offensive messages, threats, and harassment.
  • Inappropriate conduct when meeting in person.
  • Spam links.
  • Fraudulent/Scamming profiles.

Use trusted dating sites. There are so many dating sites, over 1500, and dozens of these sites are used to target victims who end up losing money due to unawareness. Use larger and reputable dating sites like Tinder, Bumble, or Christian Mingle. Choose wisely since most safe dating sites need a membership fee. Check them online to see how you can set up a secure dating account. Also, remember to delete your profile when you stop using any dating site.

Wait until you feel safe and comfortable. When dating online, don’t be in a hurry to meet your potential dates in person. Take your time to know them better until you feel comfortable and you can trust them. The right person will not pressure you to meet up and will give you the time you need to be on board.

When Meeting in Person

It’s a good idea to have a video call before meeting in person. That way, firstly…you can check they haven’t given you pictures from 10 years ago. Secondly, they are actually the person you think they are.

Schedule a video call before meeting in person. Before meeting up in person with your potential date for the first time, schedule a video call chat with them. This is a good idea to verify that your match is similar to their profile and not someone else. It could be a red flag if they strongly neglect a video chat. Your safety is key and if they can’t be willing to be in a video call with you, cancel the date.

Go to a public place for your date. Avoid meeting up with a person in their apartment, home, or any isolated places during your first date. Ideally, choose a place that you’re comfortable or familiar with so it is easy for you to get home safely. A public place with many people will guarantee your safety and that nothing fishy will happen during your date. Also, it is a great idea to choose a spot with a good phone signal.

Inform a friend about where you’re going. It is a smart idea to screenshot your data profile and send it to a friend. Inform them about when and where you’ll be going for your first date. And if for some reason you change the location of the date, make sure to update your friend. Have your friend check in on you during the date or when you get back home to ensure you’re safe.

Make sure you get to know the person plenty before meeting them in person. When you do meet, make sure its a public place, and that your friends or family know where you are.

Stick to what makes you comfortable. Don’t feel pressured to do something, eat or drink anything out of your preference just because your date is doing so. It’s totally okay to maintain your standards when you choose to have a few drinks or prefer a certain choice of food on the first date. Remember, if you’re going to be with someone, you at least owe it to yourself to be and feel comfortable around them.

Keep your phone charged. You wouldn’t want to see your phone bail out on you during your first date and leave you stranded when your date didn’t turn out to be perfect as expected, and suddenly you need a ride back home. It’s wise to keep your phone charged and with you all the time just in case you have to call a friend to come to get you.

Make arrangements for your transport. Before going out on your date, have plans in place for your transport. Don’t rely on your date to pick you up before or drop you after the date. It might not be a good idea to show someone you met online where you live during your first date.

Even if they decide to offer you a ride, just thank them and find your own way home. Also, it is always wise to pick a spot where you can quickly get home after the date is over.

Keep an eye on your stuff. When on your date, pay close attention to all your stuff. Don’t leave any drink or food unattended. Keep your cool, but also be under the control of everything you have on you, such as your bags, phone, wallet, or any valuable material. Remember, not until someone gives you a reason to trust them, don’t be confident leaving your stuff with anyone, particularly someone you met online.

Long-distance dates. If you and your date live some miles further away from each other, you have to be extra careful when planning to travel to meet them. Book a hotel and keep the information about its location private. It’s not wise to share a hotel on your first date with someone new, even if you feel like you’ve created a bond. If they offer to walk you to your hotel, simply say you can take yourself. Additionally, if you can’t afford to stay in a hotel, don’t go on that date.

Keep it casual. First dates aren’t supposed to be such a big deal. Take it as a step-by-step process of getting to know each other better. Don’t commit to a date in an expensive hotel that will see you struggling to measure up to the bills.

Anything else you can do to date safe online?

Basic online investigator checks can be done by anyone, for free. Check out your online usernames first..then check out your dates.

Yes! you can become your own online investigator and see if whoever you’re chatting to has other dating profiles. Check them out, see if what they are saying marries up with their ‘other’ dating profiles that they think you don’t know about. That sounds technical? nope, just run a free search on UserSearch.org’s dating search for their username. Takes less than 10 seconds.

Be smart dating online!

In general, be smart and careful when meeting someone online. Dating online can be a challenge but using these tips on how to stay safe dating online, you can protect yourself from scammers and basically know what to expect when visiting dating sites.

Search dating site that is safe to use and create an account to get started on finding love online.

Stay extra vigilant, and enjoy your coming dates!

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