8 Ways You Can Protect Yourself When Using Online Dating Apps
According to recent statistics, around 323 million people globally use online dating apps from their phones. And the dating app revenue has seen tremendous increases since 2015, reaching $5.61 billion in 2021. This shows just how many people try to find love through their phones, as social interactions seem harder to partake in nowadays.
Here at Bright Side, we want you to be safe when interacting with strangers online, and we believe that with these simple tips, you will be able to feel a sense of security.
1. Do a quick background check.
On dating apps, there are many people who create fake profiles with pictures that don’t even belong to them. The first thing to do if a picture seems too perfect is to go look for images and do a reverse search. This way, you will be able to check where the image came from. Another way you can protect yourself is by entering their name in the search bar.
Of course, this is useful when you’ve been talking to the other person for some time, and they have provided you with their full name. If they have a criminal record, for example, it could pop up in your search results.
2. Avoid suspicious profiles.
Some profiles have 0 or just 1 picture and very little, if any, information about them. They also don’t have any social media accounts linked and have no selected hobbies and likes. This is very suspicious for people who are on dating apps, and you should treat those accounts with caution. It’s best to not interact at all with them, and even block them if something is truly off.
3. Search for your date on social media.
If you’ve searched their picture online and their social media profiles appear, you can do a little digging. Yes, the person might be real, but they might also be catfishing you and others on dating apps. For example, they might say that they are very athletic and are always exercising. However, if their social media doesn’t have any pictures of them doing exercises, chances are they have lied to you.
The reason behind this is that they want to build themselves up in order to gain your trust. They want to know a lot of your personal info and might even expose you to spyware through links they send you. This way, they can find out your card details and maybe even steal your identity.
4. Don’t share too many details from the beginning.
Getting to know each other before meeting in person is important, but that doesn’t mean you should expose your personal details. For example, don’t disclose the address of your home or your workplace, and make sure your phone number isn’t online on any websites, like LinkedIn. You should also protect your email address, since someone can get access to it and learn more about you and your business.
5. Don’t give any financial assistance.
Romance scams are on the rise, and from 2019 to 2020, more than $304 million were stolen from victims. In these cases, the supposed suitor is asking for money because they are in serious need and swear that they will give it back to you very soon. Or they might be asking for the money in order to come and see you if you live far from one another. Whatever the case, you should never give money to someone you barely know.
6. It’s best to do a few video chats before meeting.
If you like the other person a lot and are considering meeting them face-to-face, you can first arrange a video call. This will give you the opportunity to see them up close and realize if they are who they say they are. Obviously, a lot of things can be faked and hidden in video chats, but still, it’s a small precaution. If the other person strongly refuses to do a video call with you, they might not be who they say they are.
7. Meet in a public, busy place.
If someone has ill intentions, they’ll try to get you to go to their house or a place that doesn’t have a lot of people. You can suggest meeting in a public space that feels safe to you, and you can get away at any given time if you feel the need to. No matter how insistent they are that you go to their place, you should always follow your gut. If even the slightest thing seems off, you should call off the meeting.
8. Report them if something seems off about them.
Most respected dating apps don’t allow any of their members to act aggressively or illegally. So if your match is behaving strangely, or they even try to extort or scam you, you should report them immediately. You can also contact the app’s customer service and give them more details about the account. Don’t hesitate to take things further if you’ve been scammed and contact the Federal Trade Commission and state Attorney General.
Have you ever done a background check only to find out that someone’s profile pictures were stock photos? How did you handle the situation? Did you confront them or block them immediately?