How to stay safe on dating websites and apps
1. Selecting what’s right for you
Set your online dating expectations
What are you looking for, a relationship? or something more casual like going on a few dates, and maybe a hookup? It’s good to know what your expecting going into this so you don’t end up disappointed.
What are you looking for in a partner?
It’s always good to have some expectations of the kind of person you’re looking for. Doesn’t mean you have to be too strict about it but just enough to guide your opinion to stay fairly consistent.
Find a dating app that suits you
There are a lot of dating apps out there, many of which target different audiences and offer quirky methods of connecting. If you are the kind of person who likes trying something bold but is strict on safety, the right one can empower you with self-love and body confidence.
Find a secure dating app
Safety of your information is essential so looking to see if a dating app is protecting your data properly is important. BARE, for example, takes every measure we possibly can to make sure no one can see or steal what’s personal to you.
2. Setting up a safe online dating profile
Protect your identity
Including your last name is a quick way to make it easy for anyone you run across to be able to find you online. Stay safe by using a nickname or pets instead, it could lead to a fun talking point.
Get a Google voice number
Google voice will provide you with a free phone number when you create an account, using a phone number that isn’t your normal one can save you a lot of trouble if you run into the wrong sort of person.
Using unique photos
It’s very easy to do a reverse image search on Google which can lead back to your social media, so it’s a good idea to take a unique set of images for your dating app profiles
Customize privacy settings
To ensure someone undesirable can’t find you online go through your privacy settings on social media like Facebook and make sure only the people who you want can see what you’re up to, it’s important to pay attention to the settings relating to friends as well.
3. What to watch out for on dating apps?
Early declarations of love and requests for sexy photos are two of the main things to look out for, you shouldn’t feel pressured to say or do anything your not comfortable with, it’s perfectly normal to take your time and do your own thing.
People asking for personal details
No matter what someone is saying to you, there is never a reason to tell anyone personal details like an address or card details. You’d think this is an obvious one but people catfishing for this information still happens often enough so it needs to be said
It’s not the most obvious thing to be wary of, someone might just be trying to impress but really professional photos can be a tell tell sign of a fake profile. Use tineye.com to check for anywhere that photos used online.
Differences from their profile
Make sure to get to know what someone says about themselves on their profile, not only does it give you an idea of how they want to come off but also can help to detect if something is wrong, an example is bad grammar or language despite claiming to be a native speaker.
4. Go slow & be careful
Check who you’re talking to online
When you start talking with someone there’s nothing wrong with checking them out online, just as you can do a reverse image search to find fakes you can do it to find out a little more about who you’re talking to.
People trying to use you
Sob stories are a growing occurrence online and you don’t really want to fall victim to one. No matter how caring or persuasive people come of just asking for money shows they have ulterior motives in the first place.
Talk to friends and family
Online dating is very common in this day and age so it’s perfectly normal to talk about your online dating life. If you’re not sure about someone or something like a sob story, ask someone for their opinion on what was said, it’s always good to have a neutral point of view.
Don’t fall for someone you’ve never met
It can be easy to relate or be enticed by a story someone tells you online, but always bare in mind people say whatever they like online and are often very different in person. If something sounds too good to be true, it often is.
5. Meeting up safely
Call before you meet
Calling before seeing someone in person ensures your meeting who you think you are and shows you a little more of what the other person is like. Video chatting would be ideal but at least a call over the phone is a must to do before meeting someone.
Tell someone first
Make sure someone knows what you’re doing and where you’re going, and that there is a set time they should check in with you to make sure everything is going okay, this can also be used as the perfect opportunity to escape if things aren’t going well.
Sort out your own transportation
Drive yourself, book an Uber or take public transport, you don’t want to be relying on someone you’ve met online not only for your safety but if something goes bad you don’t want to be in that awkward or stuck situation.
Don’t drink as much as you would with your friends, for the one you want to have a clear impression of the person but you also want to make sure you’re watching out for bad signs as well as your drink.