Online Dating Safety Tips and Advice
With so many people using online dating, user safety needs to be prioritized. Meeting someone for the first time whether online, through an acquaintance or on an outing is intriguing and exciting–but can also be risky. The good news is that you have the ability to protect yourself, and there are certain safety steps that you should follow while dating – both online and offline.
We urge you to follow these guidelines in the interest of your personal safety and well-being. However, you are always the best judge of your own safety, and these guidelines are not intended to be a substitute for your own judgment.
Using Online Dating Apps
Never Send Money or Financial Information
Never respond to any request to send money, especially overseas or via wire transfer, and report it to the dating app you are using immediately – even if the person claims to be in an emergency. Wiring money is like sending cash: the sender has no protections against loss and it’s nearly impossible to reverse the transaction or trace the money. For more information, click on the video below to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s advice to avoid online dating scams, also available here.
Protect Your Personal Information
Never give personal information, such as: your social security number, credit card number or bank information, or your work or home address to people you don’t know or haven’t met in person.
Note: DateID will never send you an email asking for your username and password information. Any such communication should be reported immediately.
Be Web Wise
Block and report suspicious users. You can block and report concerns about any suspicious user anonymously at any time on all dating sites and apps. Keep conversations on the platform. Be wary of anyone who tries to move the conversation to text, personal email or phone conversations.
Report All Suspicious Behavior
Examples of suspicious behavior includes, but is not limited to:
•Asks you for money or donations
•Minors using the platform
•Users sending harassing or offensive messages
•Users behaving inappropriately after meeting in person
•Fraudulent registration or profiles.
•Spam or solicitation, such as invitations to call 1-900 numbers or attempts to sell products or services.
Once You’re Offline
First meetings are exciting, but always take precautions and follow these guidelines to help you stay safe:
Get to Know the Other Person
Keep your communications limited to the platform and really get to know users online/using the app before meeting them in person. Bad actors often push people to communicate off the platform immediately. It’s up to you to research and do your due diligence.
Always Meet and Stay in Public
Meet for the first time in a populated, public place – never in a private or remote location, and never at your home or apartment. If your date pressures you, end the date and leave at once.
Tell Your Friends and Family Members of Your Plans
Inform a friend or family member of your plans and when and where you’re going. Make sure you have your cell phone charged and with you at all times.
Transport Yourself to and from the Meeting
You need to be independent and in control of your own transportation, especially in case things don’t work out.
Consumption of alcohol and/or other drugs can impair your judgment and potentially put you in danger. It’s important to keep a clear mind and avoid anything that might place you at risk. Be aware that bad actors might try to take advantage of you by altering your beverage(s) with synthetic substances.
An important aspect of any healthy relationship though – whether formed through online dating or otherwise – is ensuring proper sexual health and safety. It is your responsibility to make sure you do the following, if you choose to engage in sexual activity.
You and your partner should use proper protection. Condoms and other mechanisms can significantly reduce the risk of contracting or passing on an STI, such as HIV. To be effective, however, protective measures must be used consistently. Please keep in mind, you can still get certain STIs, like herpes or HPV from contact with your partner’s skin even when using a condom.
Be Open and Honest
It is completely reasonable to have a conversation with your partner regarding sex and sexual contact before actually having it. All issues ranging from the number of partners each of you has had, to the last time each of you was tested for STIs are fair game. Many STIs are curable or treatable. If either you or your partner has an STI that is curable, you both need to start treatment to avoid becoming re-infected. It is important to be completely honest in these conversations.
The risk of contracting some STIs can be reduced through vaccination. Talk to your doctor or a professional at a sexual health clinic to learn more.
Know Your Status
Know your status. Some STIs don’t show symptoms. Regular testing is critical to staying on top of your health and helping prevent the spread of STIs. After testing, always ask for a copy of your test results so you are sure of your status. There are many free, quick and confidential testing options – find the best locations near you using Healthvana’s free HIV and STD testing locator.
For Further Help, Support or Advice
In the case that something has happened, immediately call 911. Emergency situations include a recent threat of violence or sexual violence, recent act of violence or sexual violence or if your health or someone else’s is in danger.
If something has happened and you’re in need of help, support or advice pertaining to physical or sexual assault, please call the below 24hr hotlines.