The Ultimate Guide to Online Dating Safety – Tips on How to Protect Yourself?

ElitePersonalFinance
Last Update: February 4, 2021 Fraud Identity Theft Scams

With people turning to the Internet to find everything they need, it’s no surprise that 8% of adult Americans meet their match through online dating websites.

If that’s the case, currently, millions of Americans have already found the love of their life by meeting through a screen.

Why Do People Date Online?

Online dating is convenient. You don’t have to waste your time seeking someone to connect with organically. By looking at online dating profiles, you can learn all the primary personality traits connected to a person as well as their general lifestyle in only a matter of minutes.

When online relationships first became a “thing,” it wasn’t really culturally appropriate. Old habits die hard. To meet someone through a screen was like meeting a Martian from the planet Mars.

Online dating has become a huge trend. In the United States and the world, now it has become socially acceptable to meet your match online and even meet someone online just for the hookup option.

People aren’t afraid of showcasing that they use the internet to make new connections, and there are so many options to choose from. You can even meet business partnerships through LinkedIn or create new friendships through websites such as FriendMatch.

Love isn’t the only way for people to connect, and no one is afraid to express what they do online anymore.

The Dark Downside of Online Dating – What People Need to Understand

Most people like to think that online dating is easy. Why wouldn’t they? There are thousands of online dating sites, so anyone can find a dating site and/or app that works for them.

Additionally, most dating websites make signing up and creating an account easy. Each user has to answer a few questions that the dating site’s algorithm will use to match them with the perfect partner.

There would be no disadvantages in a perfect world that came with online dating. Unfortunately, online dating would only be perfect if all people were good at heart, honest, and upfront. However, we all know that people lie and are deceitful (especially when it comes to romantic relationships).

Here are Some “Popular” Reasons that People Choose to Lie on Their Dating Profile

  • They are married but aren’t in an open relationship. They need to pretend to be single and lie about a few other things on their profile so they won’t be caught.
  • They use online dating to scam people out of their money.
  • They are predators who love to victimize the men/women they date.
  • They have low self-esteem and lie about small details such as their height or job position.
  • They want to catfish someone. People catfish for multiple reasons, perhaps they’re just bored, or they want to try and get money from someone or blackmail them.
  • They are dangerous people who don’t want to reveal their true identity because they already have a criminal history.

Scary Statistic: It is reported that someone gets scammed through an online dating site every three hours.

We all know that we are vulnerable when trying to open our hearts to someone. Dangerous individuals such as scammers, predators, and catfishers recognize how to attract people at their most vulnerable stages. It’s clear to see why people who are a threat choose to prey and victimize members of online dating websites.

With all this being said, people are still using online dating as a way to connect with other people, whether they are curating friendships or creating romantic relationships. It’s safe to say that online dating is sticking around for a while. If you choose to give online dating a chance, you should take the proper safety precautions.

How to Protect Yourself When Dating Online

It’s no surprise that criminals use online dating websites to find their next victim. As mentioned previously, it’s really easy to create an online dating account. There’s no background search required for most dating websites, and false names images can be used to create a fake dating profile in a manner of minutes.

You can find the nicest person in the world while dating online, but you could also find the biggest criminal posing as a kind woman or a sweet gentleman. It’s like playing a Russian roulette game. You never know if you will be the next victim or if you’re going to find the love of your life.

Now that you’re scared, I’m going to offer you some safety precautions that you can use when dating online.

Online Dating Safety Precaution #1

  • Find the right dating site

When looking to join a dating site, you need to be on the hunt for a reputable one. Ensure that the online dating site you choose has a physical business address, so you know that the company is legit.

It’s always crucial that when choosing a dating site, you choose one that is well known for creating successful matches and not dangerous situations.

Take your time when selecting a dating website, and don’t sign up for several dating sites at once. If the person you’re talking to finds out that you’re on other dating sites, they might take that as a warning sign in not speak to you anymore.

  • Paid dating sites vs. free dating websites

It might be a good idea to select a paid dating site versus a free one. More criminals, predators, and scammers will go on free dating websites because it cost nothing for them to try and scam someone.

Serious people tend to be on paid dating websites because they’re paying for a specific purpose to find a person to connect with romantically. When someone spends their hard-earned money on a dating website, it’s usually a good sign that they are on the website for the right reason.

Of course, with any dating website, you need to be on your toes and ensure that your safety is protected and that your heart is guarded (until you really get to know someone).

  • Look at the dating website’s privacy policy

Make sure to look at a dating site’s privacy policy and determine how your personal information will be safe. Information such as your email address when you create the account should not be shared on or outside of the dating website.

Online Dating Safety Precaution #2

  • Don’t give out too much information

When creating your dating profile, don’t add personal information about yourself, such as where you work or where you go to Church. Don’t post pictures in places that you don’t trust.

You can add your job title as long as it’s a general title such as teacher or cop. Create a new email just for your dating website so that you can keep track of all communications you give and receive from that website. Additionally, if the website is ever hacked, your regular email address won’t be revealed.

  • What you can share on your dating profile

You can definitely give people an idea of who you are without giving away too much information. Never provide a specific location such as your street address or the exact address of where you work. Additionally, check the privacy and security settings on your account and change anything that needs to be changed to protect your privacy.

Online Dating Safety Precaution #3

  • Checklist before the first date

When scheduling the first date, make sure to schedule it in a public place. Never share a cab or go home with your date on the first night.

It might be a good idea to do some digging on the person you see before your first date. To start, do a Google reverse image search on them to see if their profile picture is anywhere else on the internet. That way, you can get a good idea on If they stole the image and they are really someone else, and if they are on other dating sites. By doing a reverse image search, you can also possibly pull up other online profiles such as their Facebook account.

When you’re in the dating scene, it’s common to get unfamiliar numbers and ask yourself, “who called me from xxx-xxx-xxxx.” You can perform a reverse phone lookup before your date, so you can see who’s calling you instantly. This will allow you to unmask if they are an impostor or if your date is really who they say they are. A reverse phone lookup can provide you with important information on the phone number owner, such as their full name.

Online Dating Safety Precaution #4

  • When you are on your date

When you are on your first date, the first tip is to not reveal any personal information with your date. Don’t tell them where you live, anything about your family, where your bank is, where are you go to the gym, anything that would reveal personal information about your life.

If your date pressures you, assure them that you want to get to know him/her better first. If your date still has a problem with you not sharing private information about yourself, this is a red flag, and you should try and find a way out if you date immediately.

  • Keep your finances safe

At no point, you shouldn’t leave your credit card on the table and walk away from the bathroom. The same goes for your purse or wallet, your phone, or anything personal that holds details about who you are or account information. Believe it or not, people are cruel and may come to your date with ulterior motives. Always be aware and keep your personal belongings guarded.

Of course, it’s always important to have a good time, but not TOO GOOD of a time on your first date. That can come later in the relationship after the trust is developed. That’s why it’s important not to get drunk because getting drunk can lead to making bad decisions.

Additionally, never leave in the same cab as your date and never go home with your date on the first night. This is for your own safety. Until you really get to know this person, you have no idea if they are who they say they are.

  • It may be smart to make your first date short and sweet

Make your first date a quick one. Schedule it for 90 minutes or less, like perhaps going out for dinner. This gives you less time to get drunk accidentally, and if the date isn’t going well, at least you know it will be short. This will also give you less time to screw up and accidentally say something private that will give you date more information than they need to know.

Additionally, a short and sweet date will add mystery to your romance. If interested, your date will want to continue to get to know you, and you will have more time to learn about him or her.

  • Kiss and tell

Another important tip: Tell several of your closest friends that you were going on a date so they can check up on you. If you don’t answer them into the night to let them know how your date went, they will know that something is more than likely wrong.

If your date is short, you can also have a friend wait in the car outside of the venue that you go to, if possible, to make sure that everything goes well. They can make sure that you are OK and that your date isn’t trying anything funny, like slipping a roofie in your drink and leaving with you when you don’t know up from down.

Online Dating 101

Now that I’ve given you a lesson plan on protecting yourself when dating online, it’s time to implement these safety tips into your dating life. Make sure to always follow these tips above when setting up a new dating profile and going on your first dates. Additionally, if you know someone else who has a dating profile, share this article with them so they can protect themselves as well.

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