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.
Flash forward to the year of 2018, and online dating has become a huge trend. In the United States and throughout the world, it has now become socially acceptable to meet your match online and even meet someone online just for the option to hookup.
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 though LinkedIn or create new friendships through websites such as FriendMatch.
Love isn’t the only way for people to connect with one another, 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 just has to simply answer a few questions that the dating site’s algorithm will use to help match them up with the perfect partner.
In a perfect world, there would be no disadvantages 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 though an online dating site every three hours .
We all know that we are at our most vulnerable when we are trying to open our hearts to someone. Dangerous individuals such scammers, predators, and cat fishers 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 is 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 online dating, but you could also find the biggest criminal who is posing as a kind woman or a sweet gentleman. It’s like playing a game of Russian roulette, you never know if you are going to 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. Make sure that the online dating site that 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 try and 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 making sure that your safety is protected and that your heart is guarded (until you really get to know someone).
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 frequent often or in your backyard.
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 are seeing 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 possible 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 imposter or if your date is really who they say they are. A reverse phone lookup can provide you with important information on the owner of the phone number such as their full name.
Online Dating Safety Precaution #4
When You Are on Your Date
The first tip when you are on your first date is to not reveal any personal information with your date. Don’t tell them where you live, anything about your family, where are you bank, 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 just 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 should your leave your credit card on the table to let say walk away from the bathroom. 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 an 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 trust is developed. That’s why it’s important to not 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 less time for you to accidentally get drunk, 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 a date more information than they need to know.
Additionally, a short and sweet date will add mystery to your romance. Your date, if interested, 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 how to protect 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.