The days of organically meeting potential love interests are nearly gone. The rise of dating apps, online dating services, and even social media messaging have left random human interactions in the dust. Although millions of online daters successfully meet others on a daily basis without a problem, there are still a variety of risks involved with meeting someone online that daters should be aware of.
From cat fishing to sketchy meet ups, online dating can be a pretty dangerous place at times. Although many argue that seriously problematic dates are few when compared to the number of successful dates acquired by online dating, the risks involved are still serious enough to address before you dive into the online dating pool.
For a safer and more enjoyable experience, it’s important to take a few safety precautions prior to setting up your first date online. Here are five tips that can help you out!
1. Limit Distance and Age Range
One of the great things about online dating is that it expands your reach. Although this is typically seen as a benefit, travelling too far to meet your date could leave you a bit vulnerable. To avoid situations where you would need to meet your date in an area of town that you’re unfamiliar with, limit the distance of your search. Keep it within a range that you would feel comfortable travelling within. You can find out how to limit the distance on Tinder here.
As far as age goes, many experts recommend keeping it close to yours to avoid other potential issues. You can find out how to limit your age range on Tinder here.
2. Look for Mutual Friends on Social
One of the best ways to find out more about a potential date is to ask a mutual friend about him or her. Fortunately, social media has made it exponentially easier to identify the friends you have in common to facilitate this process.
Take a look at the person’s profile who you’re planning to meet up with. As you scan his or her page to get to know a little bit more about this potential love interest, look for mutual friends as well. If you find one or two, reach out casually and explain the situation at hand before asking for a little more insight on this person. If the mutual friend happens to know the person you’re asking about well, it’s likely they’ll be willing to provide you with the background information you’re looking for.
3. Run an Image Search
Cat-fishing might seem like a bit of a joke, but it’s actually a pretty real threat for online daters these days. A cool way to find out if you’re being cat-fished is to run an image search on Google. To do this, you simply upload an image to a search engine to find out where else it appears online. This will show you if the same image appears alongside a different name anywhere else online, which could be an indicator that the person you’re speaking to online isn’t really who they’ve presented themselves to be online.
4. Run a Reverse Lookup on the Phone Number
Once you’ve swapped digits with someone on a dating site or app, you might wonder if you’re really talking to the same person as you can no longer see his or her face in your correspondence. One way to find out if you’re still in contact with the same individual is to use a reverse phone lookup.
This will help you ensure that the person you are speaking with and planning to meet up with is really who they say they are and hasn’t changed since you took your correspondence offline.
5. Send Your Location to a Friend
Once you’ve set a date and a meeting place, make your friends or a family member aware of your plans to ensure you’re reachable should things go awry. To take this one step further in terms of ensuring a trusted individual knows where you are, I recommend sharing your location on your phone.
If you own an iOS device, you can share your location with other iOS device users easily through your contact settings. You can learn more about the process here. You can also share your location with friends on Android devices, but it’s a slightly different process. More on the Android process here.
So there you have it: five simple tech tips to help you build a safer online dating experience. Have a tip you’d like to add or perhaps a question about the tips provided? Let me know in the comments below!