Online Dating Advice & Safety Tips
We want your online dating journey to be a fun and successful experience. As with anything, there are always pitfalls and risks to bear in mind. Our safety tips are here to help guide you through online dating.
Trust Your Instinct
UrbanSocial monitors members’ profiles, photos and activity very closely. It is however still possible for people to misrepresent themselves online. Deception is difficult to screen for, which is why deciding whether a member is being genuine or honest is ultimately your responsibility.
The biggest golden rule to always stick by is to never ignore your gut instinct. As with anyone you meet whether that’s online or offline, you should always trust your own judgement. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t, so listen to yourself, act with caution and don’t be persuaded otherwise.
Here are some things to watch out for online:
- Photos of a member that appear inconsistent or don’t match the profile description given
- Inconsistencies in their stories or information they provide
- Immediate requests to email you directly outside of the online dating platform messaging service. Remember this will be giving them personal contact information about you
- Asking for other personal information such as your work or home address. This could be done deceptively, such as saying they want to send you gifts
- Giving vague answers to questions or avoiding to engage with conversation properly
- Asking you inappropriate questions
Keep Your Information Private
One of the main benefits about an online dating service is that it allows you to communicate with people in a safe and secure environment. There is no need for you to share your personal or financial information with anyone. It’s important to not let yourself be fooled into giving away information to others that could cause you harm.
- Never share your personal email address, telephone number, work, home or family address
- Never share your bank details or any other financial information. Once you’ve shared it, you can’t take it back, and you never know who else it might be passed onto
- There is also no need to reveal your full name. Your surname can remain private, which will help to keep your online identity from being searched
- Don’t give away information about your movements - where you like to hang out, your local bar or pub, gym or where you walk the dog every morning
Beware of Scammers
Here are some examples of how to spot an online dating scammer. Ultimately they are trying to gain access to your personal information deceptively. This will usually involve urgent requests of help or flattery such as sending gifts.
Beware of anyone that:
- Asks for money or goods to help a family member or friend either locally or abroad
- Has a sick relative who needs your urgent help
- Wants your bank account details to deposit money temporarily into your account
- Requests your contact details to send you gifts or flowers
- Urgently needs to speak with you or meet you for help or to give you something
- Claims to be leaving the site and wants to communicate directly through personal emails, texts or apps
- Is excessively complimentary in their first few messages
- Is based overseas
- Uses language such as ‘god fearing man/woman’, ‘I’m sincere’, ‘looking for an honest man/woman’, ‘looking for a serious relationship’
For more tips on how to spot a fake online dating profile click here
First Date Safety Tips
Once you’ve been chatting to someone for a while online, you may feel the time is right to meet up. Whether you’ve exchanged just a few messages, or hundreds, it doesn’t yet mean you know this person and can vouch for their credentials. Always exercise the same level of caution as you would meeting a stranger for the first time.
Here are some first date safety tips:
- Meet in a busy public place near transport
- Tell at least one other person who you’re meeting and where, and make sure they can check in on you
- Take your phone with sufficient battery to last until you get home
- Arrange your own transport. Make sure you can get to the date and home again yourself. Accepting lifts home or being escorted home will reveal where you live, and could allow for unwanted visits in the future
- Don’t get too drunk – you might make decisions you regret
- Keep an eye on your drinks – finish your drink before you go to the toilet or take it with you. Be present when drinks are being made for you
- Don’t leave your personal belongings anywhere accessible, such as your wallet, bank cards or drivers license
- Bring enough money to get home yourself and to be able to pay your share of the cost of the date
For more dating advice and tips on all aspects of dating and relationships, head over to our dating blog