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Safety Tips with Online Dating

The dating world really has changed dramatically over the last decade or so with millions of Americans turning to online dating sites and apps.

But having millions of people on these sites doesn’t mean everyone you “meet” can be trusted. It’s important to know danger signs and red flags with these types of relationships, and we’ll discuss ways to stay safe when meeting someone through an online dating app.

Disclaimer: these are not a guarantee to keep you completely safe in every situation, but these tips will help in making wise, safe decisions.

Connecting with Others Online:

If you see a suspicious profile, don’t engage with them. Might be sound simple, but it needs to be said. If the app matched you with someone that doesn’t have any photos, bios or personal information, it could be a fake profile. Just stay away from these types of profiles and you can even block this account or report any suspicious activity.

If you’re not sure what some of those warning signs are, below are some examples of what suspicious profiles and scammers do who try to manipulate others:

  • Asks for financial assistance in any way, often because of a sudden personal crisis
  • Claims to be from the United States but are currently living, working, or traveling abroad
  • Claims to be recently widowed with children
  • Disappears suddenly from the site then reappears under a different name
  • Gives vague answers to specific questions
  • Overly complimentary and romantic too early in your communication
  • Pressures you to provide your phone number or talk outside the dating app or site
  • Requests your home or work address under the guise of sending flowers or gifts
  • Tells inconsistent or grandiose stories
  • Uses disjointed language and grammar, but has a high level of education
  • Examples of user behavior you may want to report can include:
    • Requests photographs
    • Is a minor
    • Sends harassing or offensive messages
    • Attempts to threaten or intimidate you in any way
    • Seems to have created a fake profile
    • Tries to sell you products or services

Also, use different profile pictures from your social media accounts to keep safe from scammers. When you use the same photo on your dating profile, someone can trace it back to your social media account.

Connecting in Person

If you’ve gone through those warnings signs and not experiencing them with someone you met online and you’re looking at going on a date, here are some things to keep in mind before meeting in-person:

 

  • Consider video chatting first. This is a safe way to see if someone really is who they say they are. If it’s a different person than the photos on their profile or if they won’t turn on their camera, then this is not someone you should meet. However, if the person matches up to their profile photo and information, multiple video chats are a great way to get to know each other better before meeting in-person.

 

  • Be sure to tell someone what you’re doing. If you’ve agreed to meet someone in-person, tell a friend or someone you trust – and be sure to include the time, place, and who you’re meeting. If you need to leave the situation, your friend would be aware of where you are and can help you promptly.

 

  • Meet in public and be sure to drive yourself. For the first date or even several times after, drive yourself. Until the relationship is established as being safe, it’s safest not to have someone know where you live. Plus, if you’re meeting in public, having others around will often keep you safer.

The Chequamegon Pregnancy Center is committed to helping you in a safe, compassionate, non-judgmental space. We’re here to provide you with resources to help you in your relationship ad to provide advice if you need it. Call or contact us today.