For those of you who have never used a dating app or website, you’re in for a surprise when you start. It’s a whole different dating world out there, and for your own safety and protection, you should know what you’re going to encounter. Dating used to be simple: you’d go to a singles bar or restaurant, meet someone and start the “get to know you” process. Or perhaps a friend or relative would fix you up with someone. Things are quite different today! Thanks to the Internet, and the fact that people just don’t have time to spend on going out to meet someone, people are using dating websites and apps. It’s fast, efficient and for the most part, it’s safe. But there are some online dating security tips you have to know about if you want to be safe, and before you head out to meet someone in person, you should absolutely follow them.
Websites or Dating Apps?
Online dating has many advantages and some disadvantages. People often ask whether it’s safer to use a dating website or a dating app, and the answer is that it doesn’t make any difference regarding safety. A dating website gives you the opportunity to community in longer streams of conversations, but apps are equally useful.
Just remember that Each online dating security website or app has its own safety rules and policies that should be followed. If they’re not, report the person who is violating the system if it impacts you in any way. Many apps and websites now have their own moderators, who monitor the sites to detect violators or those who are doing things they shouldn’t be doing. Regardless of a site’s policies, you need to follow your own safety precautions.
Know who You’re Communicating With
This is a key question, because many people who use dating sites create fake profiles and post fake pictures of themselves. Before you give up any personal information about yourself make sure you know who you’re communicating with. One of the best ways to do this is with Nuwber, an online tool that will let you find a person’s true identity using their name, email address or phone number. If your search doesn’t match up with who they say they are, delete any correspondence you’ve had with them and report them to the dating site. You can also use Nuwber to get additional background information about the person, including any police records, social media profiles and other important data.
If you’re concerned about someone’s photo being real, do a search. Copy the photo in question and go to images.google.com and then click the photo icon. Upload the image and check the search results. Another excellent tool is TinEye. TinEye searches the web for images using image recognition software looking for matches on the Internet. If they find a match it will show up in the results. You could also see what the FBI has to say about online “romance scams.” It’s important reading if you’re using online dating security websites or apps. Do your homework – and stay safe!
Watch for Warning Signs
Scammers are known to repeat certain behaviors over and over again, and those are telltale signs that you need to watch out for. If any of these warning signs appear, you’ll know it’s time to be very cautious about moving forward with this person.
They move too fast – out of nowhere they’ll tell you how much they love you – after only a few conversations. Beware, they may have ulterior motives for trying to get close to you. Share this information with a friend – just to get a second opinion.
They are acting strangely – if someone wants to take your conversation offline or comes up with a story that simply is hard to believe – move slowly and with caution! If you feel uncomfortable with their behavior, report them to the website.
They ask for money – you’ll get a sob story about their financial hardship or a spectacular job opportunity in your area – IF ONLY they had the money to get there. That’s a sure sign of a scammer – end the conversation and report the person!
Do’s and Don’ts of Online Dating
The Online Dating Association has some specific recommendations for you to follow. It’s made up of member websites who subscribe to high standards and encourage users to report websites that violate their policies.
Some of their recommendations include: never respond to a request for money. Online dating is no place to solicit money regardless of the reason. Never hand out your banking or checking or credit card information to anyone – ever! Never respond to profiles that try to get to get to you emotionally, like an ill relative or the loss of a loved one. They’re just playing you for money. Never share images with anyone that you wouldn’t mind letting family members see – if they’re too intimate, don’t share them!
You may hit the jackpot with someone and would like to move to an in-person meeting. Great! But just to be safe, follow some common-sense guidelines for your own protection.
Always tell friends who you’re going to meet and where you’re going to meet them. Always meet in a public place where there will be a lot of people around – never at a private house. Arrange your own transportation – either drive or use Uber or Lyft. Monitor your drinking – don’t imbibe too much on your first date! And always have a mobile phone with you. No matter what happens, if you feel uncomfortable for any reason – end the i-person meeting.