Swiping safely - how to stay out of harm's way in the digital dating age

There is no denying that more and more people are turning to their computers and smartphones to find partners. As online dating has now become socially acceptable, dating apps are serving as the ultimate love platform. It is estimated that around 3 million people in the UK are currently using free and paid services.

Obviously, there are quite a few advantages to meeting people online. You have a wider variety of people to select from and can afford to be a little pickier. At the same time, there are some key issues as well - the main one being safety.

This is because, essentially, every person you meet online is a stranger. As a result, they have no ties to your community, friends, or family. In short, there is no incentive for them to behave. Now, while this can sound rather off-putting, you don’t have to give up on dating apps for good. Instead, focus on the tips below to ensure that you are safe regardless of what platform you are swiping on: 

Paid vs. Free – Is There a Difference in Security?

If you’ve ever used a paid dating site, you’ll know that there are several steps to complete before you can create your profile. Such sites request quite a bit of information to ensure that more suitable matches are sent your way. On free dating apps, this process isn’t that complex or mandatory. 

So, does this mean that paid apps are more secure than free ones? Well, on the one hand, you can surmise that people who are willing to pay to use a website are more serious about pursuing a relationship. However, you certainly can’t guarantee a stranger’s intentions. 

Furthermore, while paid dating sites have more information on their hands, they don’t always use it in the right way. Therefore, fake profiles and dangerous people can still be lurking on these platforms as well. As a result – unfortunately – your safety is largely in your hands. Thus, you must take the necessary precautions when dating online. 

The Red Flags 

While spotting scammers or people with less-than-honorable intentions isn’t easy, it isn’t impossible either. You will have to start by weeding out the fake profiles. This includes photos with people that look like models, profiles with such one image, or where all the pictures are blurry. 

Now, the other red flags may start to appear once you have started communicating with this individual. To start with, they may not really have straightforward answers to the questions you ask them. Instead, there may be a lot of flowery wording to make up for it. 

Another thing to be concerned about is when people want to move onto a different site that they promise will be easier to communicate on. If it’s not a platform that you commonly use or are familiar with, stay away from it. These malicious websites can steal personal and financial information. 

It is also a good idea to steer clear of people who seem overly obsessive or aggressive when writing to you online. There is a good chance that they are like this in real life as well. As such, they probably won’t handle rejection or slights and so, should be avoided. 

Taking Matters Into Your Own Hands

The good news for you is that there is quite a bit you can do to determine if someone is dangerous or not. If you feel like you are really connecting with someone and would like to meet them, run a security check first. There are plenty of websites like CheckPeople that can help you out. 

These sites will allow you to determine whether the person in the profile matches up to someone in real life. You can also go a step further and check out any criminal records as well. This will help you figure out if someone has previously been arrested for robbery or sexual assault. If they have, you can bet that they are no good. 

If you want to protect your heart as well as your body and wallet, then you should take your investigation onto social media. These days, most people will post quite a bit about their personal lives on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. So, it should take you a relatively short time to figure out if someone is married, in a relationship, or has any other attachments. 

The Meet Up – How to Keep It Safe

There is a golden rule of safety when it comes to any kind of dating: always have your first date in a public place. It is vital that you follow this piece of advice, regardless of how much the other person resists. They might claim that they want to take you to a more romantic spot or cook for you at home. However, you need to stand firm and not budge on a public date.

In fact, your first few dates should be in a crowded place. If someone isn’t willing to meet you in such an area, you can be quite sure that their intentions aren’t honorable. Either that or they aren’t looking for any serious commitment.  

It is also important to let someone know who you are with and where you are going. This way, should something happen to you, your friends can provide the authorities with accurate information. During the date, try to keep in touch with your friends and let them know that you are alright. At the very least, let them know what time you expect the date to be over. 

When it comes to online dating, you should never have to feel that you are going overboard with the safety strategies. At the end of the day, your only concern should be that you get back safe and sound. Thus, always take the necessary precautions, regardless of how honest someone may seem. You can never tell when one of your tactics could end up saving your life. Don’t take your safety and security for granted. 

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