Online Dating Tips: How to Stay Safe Using Dating Apps
Dating websites and apps are a great way to connect with people, but meeting a complete stranger comes with the very real side effect of Stranger Danger. Plus, with personal information more accessible than ever, you never know who might use it for the wrong reasons. Next time you’re swiping or meeting a match for the first time, follow these seven steps to ensure your safety.
Check Your Own Profiles
This seems obvious. Yet, we sometimes forget just how much you can find out about someone online. It’s crazy what information you can learn about someone just from knowing a few details about them. Check your privacy settings every so often. Be careful linking your social media to dating apps, especially if your social media channels are public.
Most sites, like eHarmony, require you to fill out an in-depth questionnaire to match you with the best people possible. Sharing this information is perfectly fine because something like religious preferences may be important to you or your potential partner. However, anything like the church you visit or your favorite club should be off-limits until you know the person better.
Be Careful What You Share
While you might not be able to control someone seeing where you live based on a geotag from a post your friend tagged you in, giving out personal information is completely voluntary. Saying you grew up in California, were the oldest child, and played sports your whole life is one thing. Telling what neighborhood your parents live in, that your roommates are gone a lot so you’re in an empty house often, and the place and time you workout could potentially be dangerous info to give somebody.
To be honest, it can be easy to share information without realizing how dangerous it can be for you in the long-run. EliteSingles is specifically designed for working professionals that are looking for someone that’s career-oriented. Answering a question like “Where do you work?” may seem innocent, but you don’t want to tell someone where you’ll be if it can be helped. Try to remain vague and tell them the industry you work in instead.
Use Video Chat
Video chat before you meet anywhere. Even if the website or app doesn’t support it, try to find a way to video chat. Just make sure not to use your own personal number to FaceTime. Instead, use Skype or another service to talk for 30 minutes – it doesn’t have to be long! If they refuse, then you know what that means: red flag! It’s not hard to steal pictures of someone online and create a fake Facebook profile, but it’s pretty hard to look like those pics when you’re talking through video chat.
Always Meet in Public First
It doesn’t matter how much you believe your date doesn’t have Dexter-like tendencies, MEET IN PUBLIC. Don’t meet at their house or have them pick you up at your place. If they aren’t comfortable with that arrangement, that’s a big red flag. (First date inspiration: mini golf features a public place and a weapon for defense, if necessary.)
Let Someone Know Your Plans
Before you grab dinner and drinks with someone you met on a dating app, let a roommate or friend know what you’re doing and where you’re going. You could put a quick text in a group message so multiple people know. This way if anything happens, you have people who know where you were supposed to be. My friends and I use Find My Friends to share our locations with each other. This comes in handy for safety, knowing if someone is still at work, or just near a Chick-fil-A to bring some home for me — as you can see, it’s a necessary download.
Stalk (A Little)
Everyone knows if you stalk too much, you have to fake not knowing things about your date. “Oh, you studied abroad one semester? I’m so shocked and didn’t know this before and haven’t checked all the pics from the trip, plus the ones you were tagged in, and scrolled through that girl’s feed that you were standing close to in that one post…”
So, hold off on diving too deep until you meet in person because it’s way more genuine and interesting to learn about someone in person. However, do a little investigation. If you have any mutual connections, check with them to make sure you’re talking a real, responsible human being.
Some dating sites, like Match.com, provide quite a bit of information on the person. Even without leaving their profile, you can make sure it’s an actual person. Even though these sites go through profile verification regularly, this one also encourages the user to identify themselves as well as what they’re looking for. In general, that can make it hard to have a fake profile, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. Always double check on social media.
Create a Secondary Email
Dating websites love to use email, at least the more established ones with larger match pools. Zoosk is a great example of this. Instead of push notifications, which admittedly can get pretty aggravating, Zoosk uses email. Create a secondary email and check it when you’re ready to look at your matches. If someone is spamming you and getting to be a little much, you can log out of the email and never log back in without getting spammy messages all day long.
Know the Site
Since there are a ton of dating platforms out there, you have to know what you’re signing up for. OurTime is a great example. Any dating profile should have someone that’s 45+. If they’re younger than that, you know the person may not be real or they’re looking to scam you in some way. Another dating website may be for outdoors people alone, which may mean they want to take you out hiking. At first, it may seem innocent, but remember what we said about going somewhere alone? There are outdoor activities you can do as a group. Know the site and keep the “theme” in mind before meeting anyone in person and going on a date.
Last modified on April 29th, 2019