Navigating online dating can be a bit of a minefield, and with people joining sites in their thousands unchecked staying savvy is a must.
If you’re new to online dating or just want to up your online dating safety game - here are the 8 online dating safety tips everyone should know.
Know who you’re talking to
Whether it’s an app you’re on or a dating site, be aware of the amount of information on offer from the people you are chatting to.
Sure, people knock off a few years here or there and might use a picture that’s six months out of date, but, if someone has minimal information about themselves or one grainy picture be aware that they might not be who they say they are.
Leave a paper trail
As tempting as it may be to rush into the first date before really getting to know each other online, gathering some basic information about your date is important.
Even if it is just a telephone number and an email address - make sure you have contact details about your date beyond their online user name.
Check them out online
The advantage of everyone living their lives online now is that you’ll be able to verify a person’s identity before you meet them by looking them up on social media.
There’s no need to get their inside leg measurement and mother’s maiden name but, checking they are a "real person" before a date will give you piece of mind before you meet.
If in doubt, delete them
If in any doubt about a person you meet online, stay safe and move on. As quick as it is to meet a person online it is to delete them.
You are under no obligation to meet someone, regardless of how long you’ve been chatting to them, and, if you feel under any sort of pressure to do so, it’s time to move on.
Opt for a neutral meeting place
When meeting someone for the first time (read: second, third and fourth) arrange your date in a neutral place - and never accept a dinner invite at a person’s house.
The same goes for being picked up in their car from your house. No one needs to know your home address within twenty-four hours of knowing you.
Dates are traditionally something which happen after dark, however, with the increased number of people online dating and meeting via apps, and the increased frequency of dates, it's not unusual to suggest a ‘day date’ - meeting for brunch, for example, or grabbing a bite to eat on a lunch break.
This presents you with an excuse for a getaway.
Spread to the word
Tell a friend (or five) about your date. Give them a little insight before you meet them too, by letting them know who you’re meeting and where you are planning to go - and don’t feel awkward about nipping to the loo on the date to give them a quick text updating them of your whereabouts.
Relationship and dating expert Katy Horwood is founder of the award-winning blog, www.all-sweetness-and-life.com, focusing predominantly on dating, sex & relationships.
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