Online dating safety tips
While many romances still begin with meet-cutes in person, more and more relationships are starting online. The advent of online dating has made it easier than ever to find the person who’s right for you.
And starting to date online actually offers users substantial benefits when it comes to safety, physical and financial, as well as emotional. You just need to know how to take advantage of all the fail safes an online dating app can offer.
The following outlines just some of the ways that you can use online dating–and other technological tools–to be smart about finding your ideal match.
Talk as much as possible before actually meeting
One of the main benefits of online dating is getting to know someone from the safety of your own home. The idea here is that you can sort of date a person online before you date them in real life.
Just like you might meet someone in a bar or the grocery store, you get to meet people virtually on online dating apps. See if the person appeals to you visually, at first. Then, you can find out if their interests and passions somewhat match up to yours.
Once you’ve found someone intriguing to you, you can open the lines of communication as gradually or as quickly as you want. If messaging seems to be going well, then you can advance to voice calling and video chats.
Progressing in this way offers you some safety filters and a way to get to know the other person without any need for a firm commitment. If the person seems strange or dangerous just with messaging, you can simply cut it off there. From there, voice calls and video chats really help to present a person’s real personality. They may reveal a bit more but still leave you capable of saying yes or no to meeting in person.
Verify your match’s information
Romance scams, catfishing and other kinds of identity theft schemes have become real problems in the online dating world. Phone calls and video chats can help to cut back on fake personas, but not entirely. That’s where some online investigating can be invaluable.
You can start by performing a general web search for your match and seeing what comes up. You may find news articles in which they are featured (good or bad), social media profiles and images, or available information for a person with that name on people search sites.
With the latter, you can dig deeper to check out your date’s public record profile and use the data shown to confirm things they’ve told you, like the names of relatives, where they’re working and so forth. You can also try to check on any criminal past they may have, and even verify that the identity they’ve presented is real.
Make first dates very public
Assuming you’ve done your due diligence as outlined above, you should feel pretty safe about meeting your match in-person. But it can’t hurt to still take a few precautions on your first “real” date.
When meeting face-to-face for the first time, choose to have the date take place in a busy restaurant or some other very-public establishment, somewhere that leaves little to no opportunity for bad behavior. And, at least until you really get to know the person, don’t plan to meet up at each other’s homes.
If you haven’t tried online dating before, this technological approach may sound a bit clinical. But just because you’re using a dating app to introduce yourself first doesn’t mean that getting to know someone can’t still be an exciting, exhilarating process.
Keeping these safety tips in mind shouldn’t take away from the romance, either. Rather, following them will just help you to navigate the world of online dating safely, smartly and successfully.
Story by Nissa Hallquist