Online Dating: 10 Tips to Help You Stay Safe & Protect Your Identity

Online dating can be a dangerous move. Reports of online-dating related violence have risen more than 450 percent in six years and 1 in every 10 online profiles on dating websites are scams. These risks don’t mean you should drop online dating. However, you should know how to stay safe when on dating websites. It’s important to protect your identity and take certain precautions when dating online. Here are a few ways how to stay safe online (and offline) when using dating sites.

  1. Tell a Friend: If you are going on a date for the first time with someone you met online, tell a friend where you’ll be. Let them know what time you’ll be there also. Be sure to meet up separately and have extra cash on hand for emergency purposes. Be sure to check in with your friend once the date is over.
  2. Stay in Public: If you’re meeting someone from online try to stay in public. Some examples include popular restaurants, theme/amusement parks, movie theaters, local games, book stores, etc. You don’t want a stranger knowing your home address nor do you want to be at their house alone. For some better examples, meet somewhere like a coffee shop or a beach for a stroll and preferably in the daytime.
  3. Research Your Partner: People can hide and fake their identity very easily online. If they have photos you can reverse image search them through google or websites like TinyEye to find the source of those images. Hire a licensed Private Investigator to conduct a brief background check or in-depth pre-marital investigation if things are getting pretty serious. Make sure they aren’t lying about their identity as scammers do this often. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
  4. Protect Personal Information: Never give strangers your phone number, home address, or any personal information that can be used to track you. You can exchange information like this after you feel comfortable enough, and that usually takes some time. This can also avoid identity theft.
  5. Date Locally: Scammers typically won’t be in your area and will try to avoid meeting in person. When you choose to date online try to keep it to your immediate area.
  6. Don’t Overshare: Watch what you share with others. Don’t give out any information you wouldn’t give to a stranger you meet offline. That information can be used against you and if you share anything too personal it can be used to uncover your full identity.
  7. Only Use Trusted Dating Sites: Be sure you’re using a safe and reputable dating site before signing onto one. Don’t give any website you don’t trust any information about yourself. Ask your friends or look online for reviews for legitimate dating sites.
  8. Fake Email: It may seem silly, but you can never be too sure about people you meet online. If you don’t want your email being tracked by people online use a dummy email when signing up for a dating site or sharing your email with strangers online. Keep this email as something easy to throw away too and never use it for anything important.
  9. Protect Your Money: This is obvious but doesn’t give any credit card or anything related out to anyone online. Protect any information that could be used to take your money. Also, don’t give your money out to strangers, most who ask for money are scammers.
  10. Get Help: If you suspect a user is trying to get your identity or already has, report them to the dating website and in the case of identity fraud file a police report. Reporting users will protect future users on the dating site and keep yourself safe as well.

In conclusion, enjoy yourself and have fun! Just be safe about your dating life and always make smart decisions. Don’t over-analyze everything but be wise in all dating scenarios and circumstances. Flirt, text, call, email, enjoy lunch and dinner dates — as long as you feel comfortable and the vibe is right, go for it. However, if anything feels off, take note and don’t ignore that feeling. Our intuition always tells us everything we need to know. When that little voice inside pops up, it’s time to pay attention.  Don’t ignore warning signs or red flags. Love is a beautiful thing but at the same time, it’s important to be conscious of who we have around us at all times and who we let into our space. In this day and age, there are too many scammers out there. Contact Myrtle Beach Private Investigators for help when if you feel the need to do some homework before getting in too deep.