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Last Updated on August 28, 2022 by Randy Withers, LCMHC
Due to the advancements in Internet technology, online dating has become the norm for meeting new people. There are plenty of dating websites that offer individuals the opportunity to flirt and match with a potential soulmate from anywhere and anytime.
However, while many people who use these online dating services are there with good and honest intentions, there are others who aren’t. That’s why it is important to take a few safety precautions to protect yourself and safely transition your virtual relationship off the app and into real life.
5 Online Dating Safety Tips You Should Always Follow
To get you started, here are five tips to follow to help you feel more secure when dating online.
Protect your identity
Before you start searching for classifieds to find your match, you should first create an online profile in which you will write a brief description about yourself and what kind of a person you are looking for. However, when doing so, it is important that you protect your identity at all costs.
In general, there are online dating websites that require you to remove any information that may reveal your location to strangers. Although you should post a current picture of yourself on your profile, you might want to consider using a photo that isn’t already connected to any of your other social networking accounts. Otherwise, a virtual stranger could easily search the web for your profile pictures and access your information.
Report suspicious behavior
One of the perks of online dating is that the websites and applications offer lots of convenient features that allow you to quickly ignore, block or delete someone you don’t like or don’t feel comfortable speaking with.
If there is such a person who seems dangerous to you and has a suspicious profile, then you should immediately report the user to the dating app. This reporting is done anonymously and silently, without the other person knowing about it.
Some suspicious behavior you should be on the lookout for includes, financial assistance requests, asking for photographs, the person being a minor, use of harassing or offensive language, and making you feel threatened or intimidated.
Beware of red flags
While it is easy to get blinded by the potential love of one another, it is important to look out for red flags when you’re dating someone online. People can make false claims about themselves and could be misleading you when in fact they can be predators, scammers, or anyone else looking to take advantage of your trust.
Some common red flags you should be aware of include:
- Provides vague answers to specific questions;
- Quickly become too intimate or romantic in the early stages of your communication;
- Acts possessive of you;
- You are pressured to give personal information;
- Tries to get personal information by sending you gifts;
- The messages appear to have been sent by an automated system or through a translator.
Avoid Disclosing Too Many Personal Details
When you are online dating and have found a potential match, you will want to get to know them as if you met them in person. You will want to establish a healthy relationship from the beginning by being honest and direct about your intentions.
This is why you should ask all the questions you want to ensure that you are building a connection with a trustworthy and compatible person. You can do this by talking about each other’s past, your interests and hobbies.
Keep in mind that it is okay to get personal, but not too personal, and share information like where you live or where you like to go out. To feel more confident, you should come up with a few questions beforehand so you can find out everything you need to know.
Prepare For Your First Date With Safety In Mind
If your online relationship is progressing well, you may start to consider meeting up with your match in person. However, when planning your date, you should continue to practice caution so you don’t end up getting scammed, or worse. Here are three things to consider:
- First, choose a public place where you will feel the most comfortable. In general, it’s never a good idea to meet a stranger at a private place, such as your home or theirs. Yes, you may have been texting with them or talking on the phone for some time, but they are still a stranger. It’s quite easy for people to hide who they really are.
- Second, tell a family member or a friend about your date and where you are going. Make sure to include the day, time, and location. Use an agreed upon code word that you can text or say that indicates you need assistance.
- Third, avoid alcohol and other drugs. At least on the first date. Substance use impairs judgment and often leads to reckless behavior. Hold off on that stuff until your new relationship is more established.
Despite the benefit online dating offers, it is important that you keep your safety a priority at all times. Both men and women need to take precautions in order to protect themselves from any potential scams that may arise.
What are some other online dating safety tips? Share your opinions in the comment section below.