To say that the internet has changed our lives in dramatic ways—even in comparison to just ten years ago—is, of course, an understatement. In an era where every imaginable product or service is merely a swipe, tap or click away, it’s easy to let our guard down.
You’re probably savvy enough to know not to reveal any password, personal or financial information to unsolicited strangers. And you’re probably bright enough to know that Nigerian prince claiming to be your long lost brother isn’t quite who he claims to be. But what about online dating?
Because the very process of dating itself requires a certain level of trust and empathy with another person, it’s easy to expect that we’ve found the right one when all the signs are there. The picture of a warm smile. The endearing but hopelessly corny jokes. The comforting late night emails. The promise of a true and unabiding love.
Staying Safe When Dating Online
Luckily, most users of online dating sites are sincere in their intentions. In fact, most are probably in the same boat you’re finding yourself in. They’re looking to take a gamble—no matter how unlikely—in order to find that one perfect soulmate.
But gambles are risky. And while there may be times which result in nothing more than embarrassment and regret, there are other times in which the risks of online dating are much less safe.
So how do you play it safe when meeting people online?
Profiles don’t always tell the whole picture
Most of us try to put our best face forward when setting up a dating profile. And frequently, those faces can be genuine. Endearingly genuine.
But profiles should never be taken at face value alone. Take the time to see if there’s an honest, heartfelt connection. Ask questions. Take your time. Look to see if that person really is who they say they are by searching on Google. Does their picture belong to someone else entirely? Does their profile seem duplicated from someone else?
If you have any suspicions, tread carefully. Red flags can be your best friend when dating online safely.
There’s safety on a platform
One of the surefire signs of scammers and predators is a request for personal information (such as your email address or phone number) right off the bat. And while messaging back and forth on a dating site may seem awkward, it’s important you don’t reveal too much personal information until you’re ready to.
Again, take your time. As the song said, you can’t hurry love. Make sure you’re absolutely comfortable with someone before telling them too much—especially when meeting them offline.
Keep friends and family close
Undoubtedly, many of them may have their own horror stories of online dating to share with you. And while they may chuckle about it thinking back, at the time they were probably mortified.
While they can probably teach you a few pointers about how to stay safe when dating online, sometimes they can know you better than you know yourself. Above all, when someone tells you not to mention them to family and friends, be very suspicious about why. If they can’t give you any clear reason, it may be best to give them the cold shoulder.
Keep Your Money Even Closer
There is absolutely no reason to lend money or give out bank information on a dating site. Any attempt to do so should be reported to the site service department immediately.
As we mentioned earlier, one of the most common methods of scammers to try and extort money is to request personal information early on. They’ll often try to persuade you with a desperate plea for help. Don’t be misled. More often than not, this is a ploy, and one that can cost you.
Think Before You Share
One of the joys of dating online is discovering what motivates you. What you’re looking for. What your goals are in a relationship. And while it may be tempting to disclose the details of your own history right off the bat, there is such a thing as “too much information.”
Be natural. Be yourself. Be confident. But above all, be in control. Meeting someone online is not about writing an autobiography. It’s about developing a future together. Your personality will come through naturally, without any unnecessary probing or pressure. Remember… there’s nothing quite so comfortable as being the one calling the shots.
Need more dating tips about safely meeting someone online? Since 2008, Dating International has been helping couples find and meet their perfect matches—securely and safely, with a fully integrated platform that lets you browse and share unlimited messages with the person of your dreams! We personally verify each profile to ensure are members are exactly who they say they are. Why not try us today?