Dating in a Digital World

As Valentine’s Day approaches, single people often feel an extra push to “get out there” (even if “getting out there” means signing up for one of the many dating sites while sitting at home in pajamas). Online dating is now one of the most common ways that people meet potential mates. With the rise in online dating, came the increase in romance scams, which is a common way for scammers to seek out new victims. Romance scams are fraud conducted by individuals who use the promise of love, romance, or a night of hedonistic fun in order to entice and manipulate online victims into giving money, gift cards, or worse.

Typically, these scams come in the form of “catfishing”. Catfishing is the practice of pretending to be someone you are not in order to attract others. A common example of this would be someone who uses a set of photos they found online in order to draw in potential victims.

Without a doubt, online dating is a great way to expand your dating sphere and learn more about someone before you take the time to meet and get to know them in person. It is important to remember that there are good people out there as well – the key is to know how to tell the difference.  

Here are some tips to keep you safe after you’ve swiped right:

  1. If they are looking for money, it’s likely a scam. Send them a link to an employment site and block them.
  2. Always meet in a public place until you feel safe to head somewhere more private.
  3. Let a friend or family member know where you are going and check in with them.
  4. Do some research – search for the lucky person on search engines and social media sites. You can even try a reverse image search to see if their photo is fake.
  5. Consider a video chat before meeting in person.
  6. Be careful using apps that track your location. For example, if a dating app shows the distance between you and a potential partner, your location is being tracked.
  7. Don’t share personal information before getting to know the person.
  8. Don’t add your social media accounts to your public profile in a dating app – this could reveal your real name, surname, university, or place of work.
  9. Be careful when someone suggests you take the conversation to personal email or another website.
  10. Be cautious about sending images. Practice caution and use judgement if you choose to.
  11. Install antivirus software on your smartphone. This will notify you of any privacy breaches.
  12. Go with your gut – if something seems “off”, back out. If things get worse, block them and report to the local police.

Read more about staying safe on popular dating apps:

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Article ID: 640
Tue 7/13/21 2:55 PM
Sat 11/13/21 5:36 PM