When you search for the term “online dating” on DuckDuckGo, you get approximately 1,110,000,000 results (1.11 BILLION). This number alone will help you understand the popularity of this term. Although online dating isn’t new, apps like Tinder, Bumble, and Happn have become hugely popular and that has had a direct impact on removing the stigma around online dating. But, as every coin has two faces, dating also involves meeting strangers from the internet, and from time to time that can turn out to be dangerous.
Although the current generation of daters have an idea about how to stay safe online, still sometimes they end up sharing sensitive information. When someone creates a profile on a dating site or app, their profile is visible to millions of users, and there is no guarantee that all these users are genuine. That’s why it is better to take caution while dating online and stay safe.
Below are some of the things that you can keep in mind while looking for a date online:
Keep Your Profile Light on Details
Do not share too much detail on your profile, or before you have met someone in person.
The three golden rules of online dating are:
- Do not share your full name, address, or phone number with anyone or any dating site or app. (With recent updates on social media platforms, it can be easy for anyone to find you with your full name, and then access more of your information with a few clicks.)
- Never disclose your credit card details or any other payment information to another person. You should also consider going a step further and not discussing your salary unless you engage in a serious relationship.
- Do not post any sensitive photos of yourself or any other person on a dating site. The chances these will be misused are high.
Though online dating seems like fun, it’s always better to take extra precaution.
At the beginning, the best idea is to use the in-app communication chat box, in this way you do not have to share your phone number to talk to the potential match. Then, once you are comfortable with the person, you can share some contact information with them.
Don’t Trust Anyone
If you think he/she is going too fast and asking too much of your information, say so. If that doesn’t change things, feel free to stop talking to them. If you feel comfortable and want to start texting or talking on the phone, use a Shuffle number. With Shuffle, you can create a second, private phone number and secondary email account specifically for dating. If at any point the person is not an ideal match for you, you can delete that number and create a new one! Easy, right? (You can thank me later ☺). Below are some signs that this person may not have your best interests in mind:
- He/she starts asking for too much personal information right away
- They ask you to meet them in a non-public place
- Making inappropriate comments/jokes involving violence
- Hiding their true identity and not sharing much about themselves while on a date
- Not ready to speak on phone or video call.
Have a Dating Phone Number
As mentioned earlier, creating a second phone number and email alias will help you to stay safe and respect your privacy. You can use Shuffle’s iOS app on to create a private second number, which you can dispose of at any stage, if you start to feel like the person is creeping you out or could endanger your safety. Creating a whole email account purely for dating purposes is also a good idea. Why should someone you barely know get the same email address as your friends and family? For creating a secondary email account, you can use email services such as Outlook, Gmail, or Yahoo at no cost.
Use Public Places to Your Advantage
When meeting someone new, or even for the second or third time, avoid meeting them in private. If you are meeting a person for the first time, it is recommended to take some precautions such as meeting in a public place you are familiar with, and consider informing your friends about your date so that if anything goes wrong, they know where to look for you. At any point during the date if you feel uncomfortable or not safe, you can give excuses such as going to the washroom and inform a restaurant employee or your friend by phone/text so that they can rescue you without creating a scene. Keeping pepper spray handy, while it may seem extreme, can be helpful in emergency situations.
Do Some Digging before Getting Serious
Finally, if you think you have found a potential match, then you can think of carrying out background check for that person by checking their social media pages, their followers, twitter activity and etc. This will give you an idea about their lifestyle, and their friend circle which will also make it easier to understand them. Look for specific information such as their friends’ activity, their location, whether their profile picture appears authentic or not, their likes, and so on.
Online dating is a great way to meet new people and finding potential matches. So make sure to update a perfect profile picture, write some great opening line, and fall for someone new. But while doing so, just be cautious about your privacy until you don’t know about a person whom you can trust.