A lot of Americans use online dating services to find suitors. They are a hotspot for meeting people from different walks of life, e.g. if you are looking to meet black singles whether it is a long or short-term commitment you are looking for. But regardless of whether you choose to date online or offline, being cautious is vital for anyone’s safety.
That is mainly because the apps and sites don’t conduct background research for their users. This way, these sites become a hub for criminals and predators. As such, it is entirely up to you to decide whether you are comfortable meeting any person you interact with on the site.
However, should anything unpleasant happen to you eg identity theft, violence, scams, or sexual harassment, don’t be hard on yourself because it’s not your fault. And in some cases, you might actually find yourself in physical danger. On the upside, dating sites and apps provide a lot of convenience for people to meet others in their comfort.
While you are not responsible for anything nasty that happens to you online, there are a few things you can do to protect yourself and prevent unpleasant things from happening to you. That said, below are a few safety tips you could consider when using online dating sites.
Avoid using the same photos for your dating profile
One of the biggest mistakes people make when creating dating profiles is using the same photos as their social media. If you do so, an untrustworthy person might do a reverse search with Google. So use different photos from your Facebook and Instagram accounts, as well as your dating profile.
Look out for suspicious profiles
When on dating sites, you find a lot of profiles with only one photo. This should be a red flag, especially if they have also not linked their account to their social media accounts. Generally, connecting with someone who has very little information about themselves might not be the safest thing to do. If you decide to connect and interact with such an account, make sure that you proceed with caution.
A good step to take is to check their social media handles to ensure that the names match. Whether you know their names or have mutual online connections, then make sure to confirm that it’s them. If not, you might end up getting catfished by someone using a fake social media account linked to the dating profile.
Block and Report Suspicious Users
It is okay to block and report user profiles that seem suspicious to you or if anyone has acted inappropriately to you. Most sites are discrete with this, so you will be able to report any user account anonymously whether you have or haven’t matched with it. It is very common for most people to misrepresent themselves, especially when it comes to personal interactions.
This might be a little hard to differentiate who is being truthful or not, so trust your instincts about what you feel about those you have contact with. To that end, below is a quick rundown of some of the behaviors that you might want to consider as suspicious or from scammers.
- If they claim they are from the United States or work there but they live elsewhere.
- They give partial information for specific questions you ask them.
- If they make claims of recent loss eg, spouse, often widowed with children.
- If their stories are inconsistent.
- If their language is mixed up whereas they have attained a high level of education.
- If they are too romantic or extremely complimentary in the first stages of your communication.
- If they insist on talking outside the site.
- If they ask for financial aid suddenly because of an alleged personal crisis.
- If they request your work or home address for any reason.
- If they unexpectedly disappear from the site and pop back with a new identity.
Usually, these people use these angles to build sympathy and trust in order to manipulate you in an unhealthy way. Also, some of the behavior you can report can include;
- If they are a minor.
- If they try to sell any products or services.
- If they send you offensive or inappropriate messages.
- If they request photographs.
- If they intimidate you or send any threatening messages.
- If they request any form of financial aid.
- If their profile does not seem legit.
While the online dating field might not be the safest, the above are some of the ways to protect yourself from predation. Also, personal information such as home/work address, social security number, credit card info, social security number, and bank details should be off the table unless you know the individual well and you’ve met them. As well, don’t give out your username or password.
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