When it comes to online dating, the numbers suggest that it’s becoming overly successful. According to Pew Research, 3 of every 10 adults have used an online dating website, and about 60% of those adults who have used one say they had a positive experience. The only problem with that is that it means about 40% had a less-than-positive experience. For that group, it left them more frustrated than happy and hopeful.
So, what was the biggest frustration? Many women, particularly younger women (18-34), we’re concerned that people continued to contact them despite being told that they weren’t interested in pursuing a date. What was even worse was that some of the men sent sexually explicit messages, and called them negative names once that asked the men to stop. Obviously, this was not a pleasant experience!
Make no mistake, online dating can be successful. It’s becoming harder and harder to meet people, with increased work demands, COVID restrictions, and other barriers that have evolved, That’s why online dating has been so successful because it solves the problems of meeting others for potential dates. But with that increased use comes safety issues that everyone should be aware of, which we’ll discuss here.
Know Exactly Who You’re Talking To
Perhaps the biggest issue is that many people use phony names and identities when using online dating sites. So the first safety tip is to know exactly who you’re talking to. Use Nuwber, an online tool that provides the true identity of the person you’re communicating with just by entering their name, email address, or phone number.
If you find that the information you received doesn’t jive with what they’ve been telling you – end your connection. Block that person and report them to the dating website. Here’s something else Nuwber offers you – background information like any police records, social media profiles, and other valuable data. Another practice online daters like to use is to post a photo that really isn’t really their picture, but something that was taken off the Internet.
To stay one step ahead of that trick, simply upload the image to TinEye, which will search the Internet for you and let you know whether or not they found a match. Another way to verify their image is by doing a search on image.google.com. Just click on the camera icon, upload the image and Google will let you know if they find a match. It’s just one more level of protection.
Do Your Homework
Meeting someone online can be exciting and exhilarating, but before you get too drawn in, do a bit of homework. Start by searching for profiles on social media. You’d be surprised at what you may find out about a person by scouring their profiles and posts on various social media sites. If you find they post different information on each site, consider that a warning sign and block your communication with that individual
Other things to watch out for include requests for money – any kind of request. They may tell you a sob story that you’ve never heard before, including a tale about a sick child or other family members who might die without costly medication. Don’t fall for it! Block that individual immediately and report them to the site.
Another telltale sign you’re dealing with a scammer is if you’re asked for your home or work address under the guise of wanting to “send you a special gift.” Never divulge that information under any circumstances. Another giveaway is if you’re asked to share photographs that would be considered inappropriate if shown to children or would be embarrassing to you if they were displayed on the web.
The truth is, the list goes on and on. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) posted a list of “romance scams” on its website to alert others to potential dating scams. You’ll find that many are just ploys to get you to divulge sensitive information that can be used to steal your identity or your money.
Time to Meet In Person
Ok, you’ve avoided all the scams and pretenders, and you feel good about actually meeting someone in person. Here’s what you’ll need to do in advance to protect yourself from a potentially bad experience.
Start by telling a close friend that you’re planning on meeting someone you’ve met online. Tell them as much information as possible about the individual, along with details on where and when you’re going to meet. Insist on meeting at a public venue where there will be lots of people around – no exceptions. Never agree to meet at a private residence. Make sure you drive yourself to the meeting spot or use a rideshare app like Uber or Lyft. And here’s another word of caution – never consume too much alcohol, and never leave your drink unattended. You always want to be in control.
By following these safety tips and using your common sense, you’ll be able to find a person you could end up dating. Many others have ended up in successful relationships through online dating, and you could as well.