We want to make sure you stay safe during your online dating experience. Keep these tips in mind when you are talking/texting with someone or setting up a Meet & Greet.
When talking with someone online, don’t have a username with your full name. Just use your first name or create an innocuous email account with a random name. Come up with something fun to use.
Don’t use photos from your Facebook or Instagram in your online profile. They’re easy to trace. Don’t link any online dating sites to your social media sites – like Tinder or Instagram. It’s one of the fastest ways for someone to trace you and learn all about you, your friends and family.
It’s a good idea to get a glimpse of your date before meeting him or her. There are many ways to video chat (FaceTime, Google Hangouts, Skype and even Facebook). This could also help to reduce the risk of being “catfished” by someone claiming to be someone he or she is not.
If the online conversation becomes too much or makes you uncomfortable, stop the conversation and make sure you have ways to block and report this person.
Be logical. Don’t send photos right away, especially racy ones. Don’t give out your phone number (create a WhatsApp account or Google voice number or get a burner phone). When talking with someone be careful in describing your location, events you’ve been to recently, your workplace or anything else that can easily place you somewhere they may know. I understand you’re probably talking with someone in the neighborhood, but until you know for sure, better safe than sorry.
Never give anyone money or financial information online.
Never tell someone you don’t know or just met where you live or if you live alone. Never give out your physical address and have them meet you there. If you do decide to meet, make sure to meet in a popular public place and let friends know where you’ll be. You can even have a wingman (or woman) with you.
Don’t meet someone at their car, in the parking lot, a motel/hotel or anywhere you feel you can’t get away safely and quickly. ANY TIME you feel uncomfortable, go with your gut and get out of that situation. Do not hesitate. Consider carrying a can of pepper spray, just in case.
Pay attention to body language and facial expressions. Be observant.
If you’re meeting in a bar, make sure you watch your alcohol, literally. Not just the quantity of alcohol you drink (not a lot), but never let the drink out of your sight. Roofies (among other drugs) are easy to administer and you’ll never know until it’s too late.
Make sure you have your own car, public transpo, friends to call or have an app to come get you. Do not accept a ride or walk back because 1) they’ll know where you live, and 2) who knows where you’ll be taken.
Always have enough cash or a credit card on you to get home.
Your safety is important to us, and we want your dating experience to be a positive one. So focus on your common sense and listen to your gut. Happy dating!