Many people are afraid of being scammed if they decide to use the internet to find a relationship. If you are dating and want to use online services, we have put together the best online dating safety tips so you know how to protect yourself.
The ODA or Online Dating Association helps the industry to maintain a code of standards for all its members. These codes include protecting users’ privacy, communicating honestly with its users and having a system to report abuse. Always look for websites that are a member of this association.
When you first meet someone online, do a Google search. You can do an image search to see if that person has multiple Facebook accounts. If this person has more than one profile, it’s likely a fake account. Most fake accounts will not have any friends and often, they are brand new accounts that have just been created.
Even if this person is real and nothing suspicious is found on Google or Facebook, it won’t hurt to get a background check done on the person. It’s better to err on the side of caution and laugh about it later than to risk danger with someone you don’t know.
You may want to do a search on Google for your name. This way you can see what information is available to anyone online.
Don’t Give Out Too Much Information
Keep certain things private on your online profile. Don’t give out too much of your personal information. Even if you start chatting online, be careful about giving out too much information about yourself and try to recognize if they are trying to get you to say too much, too soon.
If someone wants to talk and asks for your phone number, you can use a free service from Google to get a number that forwards to your phone, keeping your own number private.
When you do meet someone online that you are interested in, try to set up a face-to-face meeting as soon as you can. Having strictly online conversations make it easier to lie, even about silly things. If you are considering a long-distant relationship, Skype, Facetime, and Zoom are just three conference calling apps to have face-to-face conversations.
Always set up your first meeting in a public place. Never give out your home address until you have met and the relationship has become more established. Always let your friends and family know where you are going and it wouldn’t hurt to have them call to check up on you. Be sure they know exactly where you are going and what time you will be going home.
If plans change, make that call in front of your date so they know someone is aware of your plans.
Trust Your Instincts
If you meet someone and they are boastful about possessions or experiences, you are right to be skeptical. Always ask questions if something sounds outlandish or unbelievable. If that person then starts acting defensively, those are tell-tale signs they are probably lying. Trust your gut if you are feeling uncomfortable or something just doesn’t feel right.
Keep It Slow
If someone claims to love you prematurely or asks for photos, tread carefully. When someone starts pursuing you, you need to ask questions and take the time to get to know as much as you can about that person.
Most scammers are slick and know how to work on emotions to get what they want. They say exactly what people want to hear and are experts at finding insecurities and then, using them to their advantage.
If you feel that the person you are talking to is a scammer, you should report them immediately. ODA members will have reporting protocols in place for customers who have had a bad experience. Legitimate dating sites want to know when a problem occurs.
These dating sites want to protect their members and they want to protect their reputation as a safe place to meet other singles. They will investigate and remove the offending party from their site.
Most people who use online dating sites are honest and good people. You have to be aware of the exceptions and know how to recognize online predators to keep safe. Use these online dating safety tips to protect yourself and your bank account.