Online Dating Survival Guide

Online dating can be fun, scary, and even dangerous within the online wild west. What's the best way to keep yourself safe and secure? Well… Follow the instructions below.

What to look for in a dating site?

A dating site should have the following features to keep yourself safe:

-Lengthy sign-up
-Reporting and blocking
-Controlled visibility
-Fraud prevention
-Avoid sites and apps that let just anyone message you.
With the site's apps, be sure to only allow permissions that your comfortable with. I would suggest to download the automatic permissions manager here:

Setting up your profile

- Pay attention to the geography settings in dating apps. Many dating apps use your location.

- Use unique photos for your dating profile. It is really easy to do a reverse image search with Google. If your dating profile has a photo that also shows up on your Instagram or Facebook account, it will be easier for someone to find you on social media.

- Avoid putting lots of personal details on your profile. Don’t include your last name, contact information, or social media account handles. And while you’re checking your online dating profile, check your other social media accounts. Do they have lots of information that would make it easy for a stranger to steal your identity or track you? Reevaluate what you’re sharing, there’s the possibility that someone in your friend list could share information from your profile with someone you don’t know.

Interacting online

-Use a VPN, this will encrypt your dating interactions and spoof your location against a tech savvy user.

- Use the dating app’s messaging system. It gives you extra protection.

- Set up a Google Voice phone number just for dating and only give out that number.

- Create a dummy Gmail account and only  use that email for any online dating.

-Talk to mutual friends. Dating apps will sometimes show you when you and the person you’re talking to have mutual friends. Check in with those friends and find out what they think of the person you’re interested in.

- Get to know them, but don’t share too many details at first.

-Do Not friend them on social media.

-Set your social media profiles to private, never public profile. If you don't trust people in your home, don't trust them in your social media.

Meeting in person

- Arrange your own transportation. It’s smart to avoid letting someone know exactly where you live until you know them better. Drive yourself to the date or get a ride, but don’t have your date pick you up or take you home.

- Meet in a public place for your first date. 

- You should be able to trust those around you to be respectful, safe, and kind, but unfortunately that’s not always reality. Take extra care of yourself when you’re out with a stranger. Don’t leave your drink unattended, drink less than you would if you were out with close friends, and avoid staying out until you’re really tired.

-Let someone know you’re going out with someone new, tell them where you’re going, and set a time for them to check in on you and make sure you’re okay.

- Keep a little bit of cash somewhere on your person so that you have money if your bag or wallet gets lost or stolen.

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