Swipe left, swipe right: How to date safe online

The countless swipes; the heart-stopping nerves when meeting face-to-face; the unanswered text messages; the lack of a second date…

Online dating is a tough game.

Despite this, one in three relationships now start online – a statistic that demonstrates how profoundly society has been impacted by the meteoric rise in digital communication.

Clearly, online dating works for many, but there can be a darker side to this form of relationship building.

Stranger danger

Online grooming is no longer something that’s targeted solely at children. With most dating and social networking sites normalising the process of sharing personal information (including location), they’re increasingly being used by offenders to target unsuspecting adults.

Sometimes referred to as ‘stranger danger’, online dating fraud can result in sexual crime or serious financial harm. In 2016, UK victims collectively handed out £39 million to fraudsters, having been manipulated by sophisticated social engineering techniques.

These people prey on the insecurities and kindness of those searching for love online, and while they’re vastly outnumbered by the genuine members of dating sites, their presence suggests anyone investing time in services such as Tinder and Match need to remain highly vigilant.

With that in mind, here’s our top five tips for dating safe online:

1. Get to know the person

If you’ve been swept off your feet by a profile image or description, you need to dig a little deeper before going any further. Get to know the person behind the profile and trust your instincts if something doesn’t feel right.

2. Never send money to anyone online

No matter how convincing their story or how fantastic a person they appear to be, you should never send money to people online. Make this a life rule that you will never break.

3. Take control

Don’t feel pressured into doing something you don’t want to. Take control of the conversation at every opportunity and be firm when you need to say “no”. Also, make sure you keep the conversation within the dating app, where it’ll be more secure.

4. Always meet in busy public places

Never agree to meet somewhere quiet or remote – always make sure you pick somewhere that is public and likely to be full of other people. If possible, ask a friend to follow you and be stationed within viewing distance.

5. Only use trusted platforms

We’ve mentioned Match and Tinder in this post, and they’re perfect examples of trusted online dating platforms. Steer clear of any that either look dodgy or which you’ve never heard of previously. This post offers some great advice on finding the best dating platforms.

Final thought

It’s easy to get lost in a conversation with someone who you think might be ‘the one’. But, before making a move, ensure you’ve mentally ticked off every item above.

That person is out there – just remember you’ll often start the process of finding love by talking to a complete stranger. And just like in any other situation, it pays to get to know who they really are, before giving too much away.

Further reading: How to Date Online Safely – 5 Useful Tips (SafeWise) https://www.safewise.com/blog/how-to-date-online-safely/

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