Tips for Dating Safely on Online Dating Apps
To find their next partner, people are increasingly using smartphone apps and online dating services. However, users should be aware of the risks involved with online dating, just as they should be aware of the risks involved with any online activity, including managing social media accounts, conducting banking, or buying and selling things.
Safe Practices When Online
- Keep your initial disclosure of personal information to a minimum.
- Use a username other than your real name.
- Don’t divulge specifics about your residence, place of employment, or travel destinations.
- Instead of sharing your mobile number, use the app or website to send messages.
- If you are not at ease with your photographs being seen by the public, don’t share them.
- Keep in mind that not everyone is who they claim to be. Report them to the app or website if you have reason to be suspicious of someone.
If you don’t feel comfortable meeting someone, don’t feel obligated to do so.
- If you don’t feel comfortable meeting someone, don’t feel obligated to do so.
- Check out a person’s online profile. Verify that the information on any further social media accounts they may have, if any, corresponds to what they have said about themselves. Do they have the kind of social media presence you would anticipate, ask yourself?
Safe Practices When You Decide to Meet Someone
- Make sure you and the other person are on the same page by being explicit about your expectations.
- Meet and remain in public.
- Never invite someone to your home or meet them for the first time there.
- Instead of receiving a ride from the person you are meeting, meet in a public place.
- Inform a trusted friend or relative of your whereabouts and your planned meetings.
- Leave if the date or the person starts to make you feel uncomfortable.
Never doubt your instincts.
Romance fraudsters work very hard on their con games. Sometimes they lose contact. Some predators meet their victims in person and even move in with them to gain their trust. Once trust has been built, they will look for financial support.
How to Protect Yourself
- Be cautious when someone who you haven’t met in person declares their love for you. Think about it: Would someone I’ve never met tell me they love me after just a few emails?
- Be wary if someone you meet on social media wants to switch to private conversation right away (email, text).
- If someone is trying to arrange a face-to-face encounter, be wary if they frequently find an excuse not to show up.
- If you do arrange a rendezvous, let your loved ones know when and where you’ll be going and meet in a nearby, open area.
- Never divulge personal information (such as your birthdate or address) or financial details to someone you’ve just met in person or online.
- Never submit videos or images of yourself in private. These might be used by the con artist to threaten you into sending money.
- When chatting with someone who claims to reside nearby but is actually working abroad, be caution.
- Any motive to send money is never a smart idea. The con artist will make it seem urgent, and they might even show distress or fury to make you feel bad, but DO NOT pay money.
- It’s not a good idea to accept cash, checks, or products (often electronics) for transfer or delivery elsewhere. This typically involves a sort of illegal money laundering.
- Based on any of the aforementioned indicators, if you have reason to believe a loved one may be a victim of a romance scam, talk to them about the risks and concerns you have and offer to help them leave the situation.