Online dating is becoming a popular trend, with many singles jumping onto the many apps that are rolled out just for this. However, the anonymity the online world allows raises the risk levels when it comes to trusting someone they meet virtually.
To protect yourself in the online dating world- here are some great tips from the experts;
- Some Rules to the ‘Online’ Dating Pool
- “If you receive a message saying something like this: ‘My friend saw you over my shoulder. He thinks you’re beautiful. I’ve found my girlfriend and am closing my account. Send me your email so he can contact you—SCAM.
- If you start telling me about your cancer-ridden brother and how you don’t really live in X state—SCAM.
- If they list their education and profession, and change it the next day— SCAM
- If they have higher education (i.e., Ph.D. or master’s degree), look closely and realize it is probably a scam, so pay attention.
- If your phone number is one of those weird 1+… outside the country or state— SCAM
- If anyone ever insinuates or asks you for money of any kind, including buying his kid a cell phone, etc. —SCAM
- If anyone brags they can buy you the world (or build you a really nice closet)— SCAM.
- If they tell you tales of woe and how you can help them—SCAM
- If you don’t have a profile picture, WARNING the person is probably hiding from his/her wife/husband or girlfriend/boyfriend. Don’t let lame excuses work, such as: I want to maintain my privacy. Yeah, I bet you do.
- Even if the person has a profile picture, but he/she wants to only meet you for lunch and never invites you out on the weekend—he/she is married.
- If he/she tells you some lame story about living with his/her grandma who got upset when he got stalked—liar and this person is married or in a relationship.
- If he/she only calls you during the day—the person is married.
- If he/she uses WhatsApp vs. regular texting—the person is married.
- If he/she asks you for money, say NO! Real men don’t ask women for money. And women don’t ask for money when they don’t know you.
- If he/she never invites you to his/her house—the person is married.
- If you can’t call him/her and reach him/her and he/she can only call you—this person is married.
- If he/she won’t give you his/her address—this person is married.
- If he/she won’t stay the night—this person is married.”
Candy Annaud, Author of ‘Love in the Time of Corona’.
- Don’t Share Your Personal Details
“You shouldn’t be quick to share your personal details such as your mobile number while talking to people online. You can use Google Voice to get a free phone number that you can use. You can easily check your call logs and text messages without giving out your real number. You can also block any people you do not like.”
Jacob Hubbard, Editor at TheGoodyPet
“Online dating turned into something so common and casual that we stopped talking about its dangers and how to make sure we’re safe.” says Caio Bersot, giving his advice on how to ensure your safety when meeting someone online;
- When You Set a Date- Go to a Public Place
“Regardless of your plans for your first date, it’s a good idea to go to a public place where there are other people and where you feel safe.” (Caio Bersot)
- Ask Questions
“Before you book your first date, don’t be afraid of asking questions if you’re feeling uncertain or find any red flags.” (Caio Bersot)
- Tell Someone the Details
“Let at least two people know where you are going and with whom. This is a basic yet essential tip for anyone going on an online date.” (Caio Bersot)
- Let Your Date Know Others Know About the Date
“Let your date know that other people know about them and about your meeting. This will provide you with an additional layer of protection and reduce your chances of getting in trouble.” (Caio Bersot)
- Cancel if You See Any Red Flags
“Be aware of red flags and don’t be afraid of canceling an online date if something feels off. It’s better to go through the frustration of a canceled date than to put yourself at risk.”
Caio Bersot, Editor at Rank-It.ca
- Always Meet in a Public Place
“It doesn’t matter if it’s the first date or it’s already a 4th one. As long as you’re not official, just to be safe, always meet in a place where there’s a lot of people around.” (Julie Ann Ensomo)
- Prepare An Excuse To Leave
“Have one ready, especially if you’re bad at coming up with something right on the spot.” (Julie Ann Ensomo)
- Leave If Necessary
“You don’t need to stay and mingle for a few hours. If something feels off about the other person, give them your excuse to leave and just bail immediately.”
Julie Ann Ensomo at adaptablemama.com
- Video Chat Your Date Before Meeting
“In this day and age, it is always better to err on the side of safety. Throw away any romantic notions of going in blindly. Know exactly who you are meeting before you actually meet them in real life. Do video chats and calls just to make sure they are who they say they are.” (Chris Pleines)
- No Doxxing!
“Never share details like your home address and bank details. In online dating, you should be very wary of the people you meet—even if it is someone you have been talking to for the longest time. Some people do everything they want to lure you into their trap and do illegal things using your identity. Others, using your personal and bank information, can make purchases under your name. In online language, don’t doxx yourself!” (Chris Pleines)
- If It Sounds Too Good To Be True, Chances Are, It Is
“Anyone can say anything on their profiles, and not many online dating sites or apps have the resources (or even the means) to verify every information. So as an added security layer, you should be able to discern whether someone is telling the truth or not on their profiles.” (Chris Pleines)
- Say no to Suspicious Links
“One of the infamous phishing techniques is by sending an unsuspecting victim a link. Once you click this, you’re somehow forwarded elsewhere—the next thing you know, the scammer has already accessed your email, password, linked accounts and other pertinent details. The moral of this story is always to be wary of suspicious attachments or links sent your way. Ask your match what it is all about and check the structure of the link itself. Is the site reputable? Did your match give you a detailed description of what the link is all about? If no and no, make sure you close that chat tab, keep an eye out on this particular user, and report if they send another link again.”
Chris Pleines, Dating Expert from Datingscout.com