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Online Dating Safety Tips
Looking for love online? You’re not alone. Finding a soulmate on online dating websites and apps has become very popular. After all, when you can do most other things online, why not dating as well?
Around 8% of couples say they met online. That may not be as many as you might have thought, but that’s still a lot of people.
The crossover of technology and love should make life a lot easier. Complex algorithms should be able to find a perfect match. Dating someone you have only met online, though, can have its risks.
The best dating apps and websites do all they can to make their platforms’ a safe place to meet people. But people do use online dating for purposes other than finding love.
As well as innocent singles, dating websites also attract sexual predators and scammers. There’s also a danger that someone you meet online that you don’t like ends up being your unwanted stalker.
Online dating can lull you into a false sense of security. It can make you feel like you know someone when you know nothing about them at all. It’s one of the few occasions that you would agree to meet a total stranger.
Online dating is not inherently dangerous, but you do need to be careful. Here are some online dating safety tips to make your online dating experience a happy and safe one.
1. Meet in a Public Place
This is the most obvious of all online dating safety tips, but it still needs mentioning. Whenever you meet someone for the first time, meet them in a public place.
Save the romantic meal for two at his place for when you get to know him better. Meet in a public place where you know there will be plenty of other people around.
2. Meet Somewhere Local
You could meet someone online who lives far away. If you do, make the venue for your first in-person meeting somewhere you know.
It’s not a great idea to be far away from home in an unfamiliar area when you meet someone for the first time.
3. Make Your Own Way to and From the First Date
“I’ll pick you up at eight” sounds like a good idea, but it’s too soon for your new date to know where you live. It’s also too soon to be going for a ride in his car.
When you meet someone in person for the first time, drive yourself to the date. Or, take public transportation. Don’t tell them where you live until you get to know them.
6. Find Out What Details About You Can be Found Online
Search on Google for your own name. You might be surprised at how much information about is you is publicly available.
If a Google search reveals more information that you would like a first date to know, it’s a good reason to keep back some details until you know the person better.
7. Google a Date Before You Meet Them
Searching on Google for information about your online date might also reveal something about them. This isn’t stalking, it’s protecting yourself.
Search online on Google and social media apps. It might give you a better insight into the person. It might also reveal something that makes you change your mind about meeting them in person.
4. Don’t Tell a First Date Where You Work
Your home address is not the only thing you need to keep secret when use online dating apps and websites. You don’t want a bad date turning up where you work either.
Asking what a person does for a living is a natural icebreaker. But keep the name and the location of the company you work for to yourself until you know you can trust your date.
9. Tell a Friend Your Itinerary
Make sure that a friend knows your plans for the evening. That includes where you are meeting, what time you are meeting, and what time you expect to be back home.
If someone knows what your plans are, they can alert the authorities if something is wrong. The sooner people know that you may be in trouble, the faster help will arrive.
12. Download a Safety App onto Your Phone
There are lots of emergency SOS apps available. Many of them are free. Most of these apps have one-touch alert systems.
When you press the alert button on an SOS app, your emergency contacts will know that you need help. The app will also give your contact the details of your GPS location.
8. Don’t Drink Too Much Alcohol
We shouldn’t have to have this online dating safety at all. But there are people who will take advantage of you if you have too much to drink.
Drinking too much alcohol may also make you reveal personal details about yourself. Details that you shouldn’t reveal until you get to know the person better.
Don’t go over the top with alcohol. Stick with the or two glasses of wine to settle your nerves and relax you.
11. Carry a Pepper Spray
You should carry something to defend yourself with when you meet a person for the first time.
If you don’t want to carry a weapon, a pepper spray is a good non-lethal alternative.
13. Don’t Send Anyone Any Compromising Photos of Yourself
Be very careful about sending an online date any intimate photos or videos of yourself. Most people reading this will be saying “I’d never do that!”. Online scammers are very clever, though.
Scammers prey on people by making them believe that a relationship is real. Then, when they have the compromising images, the blackmail begins. They will threaten to make the images public unless you pay them money.
10. Check in With a Friend
Checking in with a friend at an agreed time will let someone know that you are OK. This could be during the date, or when you get back home.
You might also want to have a friend call you at some point during the date. Its’ a good safety measure, and it could provide you with an excuse to leave if the date isn’t going well.
14. Don’t Send Any Money to Someone You Meet Online!
Be wary if someone you meet online asks for your money, it’s likely to be a scam. They may say they need money to travel to meet you. Or they may claim they need the money for medical treatment.
Scammers play on your emotions. Don’t fall for it. If someone wants a serious relationship, they wouldn’t be asking you to pay for it!
15. Trust Your Instinct
Our final online dating safety is to trust your own instinct. You may be very keen to make a date a success, but don’t ignore your gut feelings.
If something doesn’t feel right about someone you meet online, block them, and don’t meet them in person.
Many thanks for reading our online dating safety tips. We hope you found them useful. If you did like this post, please share it with your friends on social media.
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