Online dating is supposed to be this amazing magical journey. I mean, what other platform allows you to meet that special someone without having to leave the comfort of your home? However, not all is always as it seems.
The unfortunate truth about online dating is that you are always at risk of getting scammed. This includes everything from people using fake profiles to straight up money extortion. The good news is that these incidences are few and far between. What’s even better is that there is a lot you can do to protect yourself. Here are 10 tips that should come in handy when you want to stay safe online.
1. Choose the right dating site
As you’re deciding, which dating site to sign up with, remember that not all of them are the same when it comes to security and privacy policies. Picking a site that has strict anti-scamming rules and detectors is the first step you can take in ensuring your online safety. AmoLatina.com is one such site that takes their members’ safety very seriously.
Secondly, you should consider whether the site you want to sign up with verifies profiles of new members. If it took several days or even weeks for your profile to be verified and approved, it might have been annoying, but it is for the best. This means that the platform has member safety as a high priority and will not allow just anyone in.
2. Let people work hard for your trust
It is important to be open and vulnerable with online romance. Despite this being necessary to ensure success, you shouldn’t just open up to anyone and everyone who shows you attention.
It doesn’t matter how legit they seem on paper. It is best to take it slow and exercise patience. Get to know this person on a surface level, then gradually grow into deeper and more personal topics.
Remember that if you do not trust someone for any reason, you need to understand that you do not owe them any information. So do not share out of pity or sense of duty. If your gut tells you no, then move on.
3. Keep your net worth to yourself
More often than not, online dating scams are money-centric. It is always some con artist somewhere looking for love-starved rich folk to defraud. One of the best ways to protect yourself here is by keeping your net worth to yourself. Yes, I understand that it might be a great selling point when you are trying to find love. I mean how else do you show you can take care of your future beau? But it could end up costing you.
The problem with this flaunting of wealth on online dating sites is that it makes you a target. You might as well post a ‘Scam Me’ ad instead of that picture of yourself on an expensive private yacht. Keeping your wealth on the down low is also good as it helps you find partners who are genuinely into you and not just your money.
4. Do not share sensitive information
What exactly is sensitive information? The answer is simple: anything and everything that can be used against you.
This includes things like addresses and contact information as these can be used to harass you offline. Another great example of sensitive information is identification details like credit card numbers, social security numbers, ID information, and so more.
These are often used for identity theft and could land you in a world of trouble. Finally, avoid sharing sensitive personal information especially secrets and other things you are not very proud of. These are used by extortionists who will use the information to get money and favors from you.
5. Keep the communication online until you trust them
One of the most important steps in the online dating process is moving it offline. This could be a phone call through your private line or an actual physical date, which can be both exciting and daunting.
To avoid getting scammed, simply hold off on this until you are sure you trust this person enough to meet them. And even then, make sure to keep yourself safe by choosing public meeting spots.
6. Use voice and video calls
This is a great way for you to verify the identity of people you chat with online. A voice call will allow you to determine gender whereas video calls allow you to confirm physical identity. The last thing you want is to stick to emails and text chats only to meet a burly old man on your first date when you were expecting a bombshell goddess.
If the person you are talking to is always making excuses against these forms of communication, then something is wrong. Don’t fall for the old ‘I’m too shy’ or ‘I’m scared you won’t like how I look’ lines. Simply cut your losses and find someone who is willing to prove themselves in this way.
7. Get separate communication addresses for the process
This is a great way to protect yourself from getting harassed offline by people you meet on the dating service. Having this separate number also allows you to maintain some form of privacy. It also protects you from cyber-attacks by hackers who want to gain control of your life through these important addresses.
8. Never send money to people you meet online
Say you have been chatting with someone for a few weeks and things seem to be going really well. They are open, and you get along beautifully. Then one day they come with a sob story about how a relative died, or they are late on rent, and they need a bail-out. What would you do? I know this is a moral dilemma for most but, believe it or not, this is the blueprint for one of the most common online dating scams.
If you are naturally kind and generous, then every fiber of your being is willing you to pull out your credit card and make a payment. There is nothing wrong with being generous. However, it is best to keep your wallet in your pocket until you have established an actual offline relationship with this person.
9. Keep an eye out for red flags
There are many of these in the online dating scene. It could be a user asking for money. Or maybe it is someone refusing to take your video calls. It could even be extremely personal and intrusive questions. The thing with red flags is that they are different for everyone. The bottom line is that if anything makes you feel uncomfortable, then you need to get yourself out of that situation.
10. Report any suspicious activity to the website officials
Finally, protect yourself and other members on the website by reporting any suspicious members. If you notice the red flags highlighted above, it is not enough to just uncouple and move on. You need to ensure that these scammers do not get away with it and cheat someone more gullible than you.
Most good websites have a way that you could report such activity. For example, AmoLatina investigates all suspicious profiles reported by members and takes action when necessary.
Constant vigilance is all you need to be safe while in such a vulnerable state. Do not let the fear of getting scammed keep you from wearing your heart on your sleeve. However, remember that there is a fine line between being naïve and being open; don’t cross it.
With the ten tips highlighted above, you should be in a great position to protect yourself while you explore the amazing world of online dating.