Is Online Dating Safe?

Everything you need to know before swiping right.


December 3, 2020

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These days it seems like everyone is finding love online. Or if they’re not finding it, they’re at least a part of the 30% of Americans trying to via online dating apps. But is online dating a safe and reliable means for making a lifelong connection? We’re here to answer the big questions you have about how to date safely online.

How to date online without putting yourself in danger

The root problem of online dating is that you never know who’s on the other side of the screen. Yes, it just might be the love of your life, but it could also be an identity thief or professional scammer. Here are a few ways you can securely search for the right person:

Plan it Out

Take some time to plan out your dating site profile. Evaluate who you are as a person and how you can portray this online without oversharing. Remember that you’re preparing to reveal information to complete strangers. This means you probably shouldn’t share that you like to get breakfast at the Denny’s on Main Street every Saturday at 10:00 a.m. Also, keep personal details like your birthday or office address private. Wait until after you’ve made a meaningful connection with a person and had a few in-person dates before sharing these types of details.

Find the right picture

Give some thought to your profile picture. Avoid using any photos that reveal too much information. This includes images that make it obvious where someone can find you.

The Big No-No’s

Finally, to safely date online, you should:

Steer clear of including your phone number or address anywhere in your profile. If you want to talk to your matches on the phone before meeting in person, use a Google voice number instead.

Keep your primary email separate from your dating app profile. Instead, link your dating profile to a secondary email address. Doing this will not only keep your primary email address’s inbox from overflowing, but it also gives you an extra layer or privacy.

Keep your whereabouts private by turning off location-based matching systems. While this feature can be useful for finding dates in your local area, it can easily backfire by letting users know exactly where you live, work, or socialize. It can also help a savvy thief know if you’re out of the house, giving them a perfect opportunity to break into your home.

How to online date: what should I do and share?

Maybe you’ve been using an online dating site for a couple of weeks, and you’ve made a connection. Congratulations! But before believing you’ve mastered how to online date, there are still necessary steps you need to take for your safety. Here are a few easy ways you can ensure your potential match is who they say they are:

Video chat before meeting

What better way to break the ice and get an idea of who your match is before the big in-person date than by speaking with them face-to-face beforehand? Set up a quick video chat date on your favorite platform like FaceTime, Google Hangouts, or Skype.

Talk on the phone before the first date

Similar to video chat, talking on the phone before the in-person date is a great ice breaker. It’s also another way to get to know the person you’ve been messaging online. Lastly, speaking to that potential date on the phone can help you screen for red flags you might not be able to catch through messaging alone.

Google the Person

When you’re online dating, it’s okay to do some research on the person who has caught your eye. Doing a quick Google search will help you learn if the person you’re connecting with on the dating app actually exists. A little studying up will also provide you with useful details to better understand if this potential match is right for you.

Share the News

Before going on your date, let some close friends or family members know about your plans. Make sure they know who your date is, where you’re going, what time you’re meeting, and when you plan to return home. That way, if something goes wrong and you’re not back on time, they’ll know to take action.

Meet in a public place

Having other people around on your date will not only relieve some of the stress of spending time with a new person, but it can also keep you out of harm’s way. A busy bistro might be just the place for a first date. At least if something goes wrong, there are people around that can help.

What is the best online dating site for me?

Not all dating sites are created with the same criteria. Depending on your age, interests, or values, you might have a greater chance of finding love if you pick a dating site that caters to your specific needs and wants. Take some of the following factors into consideration:

Consider your age

Your age can play a deciding factor in which dating application you choose. Some sources suggest young adults will typically enjoy Tinder, Facebook Dating, or OkCupid more than the older crowd. Others believe more mature adults can find more potential matches on sites like eharmony, where many users are looking for a strong connection that can transition into a long-term relationship.

However, the only person who knows which dating app you’ll enjoy the most is you. So research these sites, evaluate success stories, and review the studies showing the age bracket most likely to be online. The site that meets most of your needs is the site you should be using.

What do I like?

Depending on your level of comfort, some dating sites simply won’t work for you. For example, women who are ready to make the first move will enjoy Bumble’s progressive platform. Meanwhile, men who just aren’t comfortable with a woman asking them on a date should avoid using Bumble. Similarly, a woman who hates cats shouldn’t waste her energy trying to build a lasting connection on a site made for cat lovers searching for love.

Understanding your interests and preferences will help guide you toward a platform with a pool of like-minded users, increasing your odds of finding prospects.

How much are you willing to spend?

Many online dating services require you to spend a little money to have a chance at love., eharmony, and Zoosk have subscription programs that can cost up to $55 per month. The upside to paying is the value of the features you can access once you subscribe. This might include the ability to message your connections, seek lessons from a dating coach, and have your profile highlighted across the site for a greater chance of reaching more connections.

Now that you know how to date online

Online dating is an exciting phenomenon that has made it possible for people worldwide to find and make connections with others. Just make sure you do it safely.

If you’re living alone, consider investing in an extra safety layer with a home security system from Brinks Home™.

Allison Clark is a senior writer for Brinks Home™. She enjoys educating others on the benefits of smart home security and using technology to simplify everyday life.

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