Yes, online dating is booming. We have all seen the romantic stories of people meeting on apps like Tinder and living happily ever after. However, not everyone is honest online, and they might not tell the truth about who they are. Of course, the sugar-coating might be minimal, like a person editing their photo or hiding their bad habits. Sadly, there are situations when online dating can lead to bankruptcy.
Recently, a woman had reported losing around $156,795 to a man she met on an online dating site. He claimed to be held captive by loan sharks, and the money was supposed to save his life. However, it all turned out to be a scam, and everything that the man had told her was a complete lie.
Do you not want your search for love to be tainted by despicable people like this? Follow the tips mentioned.
How things go wrong in online dating
Just like everything else in the world, online dating doesn’t always go as planned. Knowing that 55% of people who opted for online dating experienced some form of harassment, inconveniences, and threats should help you understand how important it is to be cautious in the online dating world.
Some surveys suggested that male online daters put themselves at risk more often than women. Twice as many men have experienced some form of spyware or have been infected with malware when searching for their date online.
The number of women who have experienced uncomfortable conversations online is slightly greater than men, with 15% of women being subject to it and only around 10% of men. We may now ask ourselves, why does this happen?
Namely, it’s common for people who indulge in online dating to misrepresent themselves to attract more people. Also, perpetrators or tricksters might be doing this for fun, or to hurt people by catfishing them.
For this reason, it’s crucial to take some precautions before meeting your date in person if you wish to avoid uncomfortable and even dangerous situations. We’ve composed a list of the 10 top tips that can help you with these issues.
Tips on how to stay safe online before you meet your date
If you wish to safely embark on your online dating task for finding a perfect match, here are the ten most important tips you should follow.
- It’s all about good research. Do a quick Google search before you meet your match in person. Try to find additional information and pictures aside from Instagram and Facebook of that person.
- Use a VPN. Making sure that your IP address isn’t exposed when chatting online is something most people deem unnecessary. However, tools like AtlasVPN will help you mask your IP address so it would not be displayed. This change might also help you avoid being harassed due to various comments that might be associated with your IP address.
- Ask for a video chat before you meet in person. Google, Facebook, Skype, FaceTime, and Hangouts all allow great options for a video chat. You must see your possible partner and avoid going on dates with people who misrepresented themselves. If a person claims that their camera/microphone is broken, take it as a serious red flag. Encourage that person to fix their camera as soon as possible. If they act weird about it, such behavior is also an indication that something is wrong.
- Never share too much personal info online. Don’t give out your number, address, birthday, and information about your family members online. This stuff should be shared only when you’ve met the other person (or much later). Additionally, never discuss your income with people on online dating sites. If they are interested in how much you make, emphasize that you are not comfortable talking about such matters. The reason scammers are interested in this might be to determine whether you are a suitable victim.
- Schedule a phone call before the meeting. Talking with someone by phone forces them to reply on the spot. Instead of chatting, where you have a lot of time to think about what you will type, a phone call will give you a much better insight into what your date is all about.
You can also check out the most common romance scams so that you would recognize suspicious behavior. If your seemingly ideal match is asking for thousands of dollars, never believe their claims. Of course, scammers won’t ask for money after a month of chatting with you. Typically, it is all about gaining your trust, which might take months or years. Thus, victims might be eager to believe and help such people.
Tips on how to date safely when you go on an actual date
- Drive to your date in your vehicle or taxi. If you carpool, your online date can see where you live and control where you go on your date. Driving in your car reduces this risk as you are the one in control of where you two will be going.
- Always choose a public place to meet. Meeting in public places with your date for the first time is better because there are always many people around. If you start feeling uncomfortable, you can always ask somebody for help.
- Share your location with a friend. You can never know what a person is like in real life based on their online dating profile. Telling your close friends where your date will take place gives them a chance to come there if something goes wrong. Additionally, keep your friends updated on how the date is going. If you notice red flags, ask your friends to call you with a fake emergency. Then, you might be able to escape quickly without creating suspicion.
- Always go sober on dates. Over 50 million people are dating online, and each person is different. You can never be sure that someone will be understanding and genuine. Thus, suggest a coffee date for the first time you meet with someone.
Online dating platforms are widespread and are popular worldwide. Many people struggle to find like-minded people, which is where such platforms can help. However, staying cautious is always a good idea.
We hope that our analysis of why these things happen and our list of steps to take when pursuing online dating has helped. Remember to stay cautious and good luck.