10 Online Dating Safety Tips for Safer Dating
Updated: Oct 11, 2022
Jumping into online dating is an exciting experience. But it’s important to recognize that finding a relationship online can come with some inherent risks. Before getting started with a new dating website or app, be sure to read some online dating safety tips to ensure you’re dating smart. Unfortunately, there will always be people who take advantage of the online environment to hide their true identity or attempt to scam potential suitors. It’s important to do what you can to protect yourself when setting up your online dating profile and meeting new people. Use the online dating safety tips below to boost your dating safety.
1. Choose your profile photos carefully. When setting up your online dating profiles, closely examine your photos before posting them online. Look in the background of each photograph to make sure you’re not inadvertently sharing personal information, like your street, house number or place of employment.
2. Don’t get too personal. This is one of the most basic online dating safety rules, but one of the most important. Don’t share personal information with a potential suitor before the first date, including your phone number, address or workplace. Setting up a Google Voice account is a great way to allow someone to contact you via phone without giving out your cell phone number.
3. Lock down your social media accounts. While this is always good practice, it’s especially important to check your social media security settings ahead of getting started with online dating. Review your Facebook security settings, Instagram security settings and even LinkedIn settings. Make sure that only your friends, followers and connections can see your images, your posts and any personal information.
4. Ask for their last name. Don’t go on a date with someone unless you know their full name. Use their name to do a quick Google search ahead of your date. This may seem unromantic, but your safety is more important than keeping a little extra mystery ahead of a date. Check to see if they’ve ever been associated with a crime, review whether the photographs of them online match with the photos in their profile and try to fact-check any information they’ve told you about themselves
5. Run a Google search on yourself, too. If you’re asking for a date’s full name, chances are they’ll want to know your name, too. Before giving out this information, search for yourself online and see what comes up. Can you find your address, your workplace or your social media profiles? Remove or hide what you can, and be aware of the information out there that you may not be able to take down.
6. Find them on Facebook. Do a Facebook search for your potential date and see what kind of security settings they have in place. If visible, take a look through their photos and see if they match with the person you’ve seen online. See what kind of things they post about and the kind of language they use on the site. If their security settings hide much of this from view, check to see if you have any mutual friends. If you do, reach out to your friend to get their thoughts on your date.
7. Never get in a car with someone on the first date. When it’s time to actually go on the date, be sure to drive yourself or take public transportation. Never let a date in your car or get into their car on the first date, and not until you’re confident in their identity and intentions.
8. Keep your date in a public space. Plan your first date in a public spot, like a restaurant, movie theater or museum and meet them there. Don’t let them accompany you home after the date, either. For the first date, keep your interactions public.
9. Tell a friend where you’re going. Communicate with a friend or family member ahead of your date and let them know where you’re going, when you’re going and when you expect to be back. Be sure to let them know the name of your date, too. If your plans change throughout the evening, be sure to update them. Text them when you get home to let them know you’re safe.
10. Pay attention to your date’s drinking habits (and your own). If someone has more than two drinks on a first date, consider that a red flag. While drinking habits may change as you settle into a relationship, someone's first-date behavior can say a lot about them. Watch your own alcohol intake, too. Make sure you’re always able to be aware of your surroundings and drive yourself home.
With these online dating safety tips, you’ll be ready to take your dating safety to the next level. Have questions or want to share your own online dating safety advice? Let us know in the comments section of this post!