The online world is a world of uncertainty when it comes to people. It’s easy for anyone to portray and pose as anyone. You cannot assume that people are who they say they are. Therefore, when you approach online dating, you must be aware of the dangers of online dating.
A few important tips that you must follow as you navigate the online dating scene are the following:
Don’t disclose your full name.
Don’t reveal your place of work.
Run a Google search on the person that you’re in contact with and perhaps are thinking of potentially meeting in person.
Slow dating is the best way to go. Don’t rush the process; instead, get to know him or her further.
Protect yourself by not providing too much personal information.
Ask as many questions about their background and don’t believe everything that you’re told.
Don’t trust anything or anything until it’s been verified. Get to know the person, not the profile. Often, we want to believe how people market themselves so much so that we disregard getting to know the actual individual.
It’s essential to know the facts, and research shows that one out of ten sex offenders are actively on online dating platforms. And it’s on dating sites where offenders meet their victims. Remember that sexual predators target vulnerable individuals. Therefore, before disclosing too much information, it’ll be wise for you to investigate who you’re talking to. How can you do this? There are sites like BeenVerified, where you can research and do a light background check on any person. You must do your research.
Let’s say that you want to meet them in person you should never use your real phone number. You can protect yourself and use a Google Voice number, which is free, and you can dial anonymously. Google Voice will issue you a number, and all calls will come through to your real phone number without disclosing it. When it’s time to meet in person, these are the don’ts:
Don’t go anywhere private.
Don’t let them come to your home.
Don’t let them drive you home.
Don’t let them pick you up period.
Don’t drink alcohol or do anything that will limit your inhibitions on your date.
In addition, you should always tell someone where you’re meeting the stranger and if you can have your friend or family member meet in the same place but watch from a distance. You may even consider carrying pepper spray just in case you find yourself in a dangerous situation. However, with the use of pepper spray, you must learn proper handling; otherwise, you’ll be hurt.
Social Media and Online Dating
Experts say to never link your social media accounts to your online dating accounts. If you’re active on social media and you post pictures and information about your weekend plans or where you are, then it would be wise for that information not to land in the wrong hands.
If you have access to your date’s information, try searching them on social media platforms and find out if they are catfishing you. How can you tell? If they only have one or a few or none pictures of themselves, then you are probably being catfished. People who genuinely want to pursue dating will provide as much information as possible, including photos of themselves and those they love across all social media platforms and their dating profile as well. If they have short profiles, stay away. That’s your red flag.
To avoid perpetrators finding who you are, you might want to use a picture on your dating profile that isn’t already online on your social media platforms. Why? Because if it is, then the person you’re talking to online can upload your image on the Google Image search, and it will link your image to your social media platforms. Vice versa you can upload their picture on the Google Image search and find their social media accounts.
Better Safe than Sorry
Although there are good people that desire a relationship, you must stay safe from falling into the hands of people that may want to harm you. You must be smart and tactful. Talk to your trusted group of friends and tell them who you’re dating. If you ever feel uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to step away from conversations. You should feel afraid to offend anyone. If someone is really trying to pursue you, then they’ll want to help you feel safe and secure, so never shun feelings of discomfort. You’ll know that something is off when you have to convince yourself to believe or pursue a relationship. Be honest with yourself, be safe, and be smart.