Tired of explaining online dating to panicked relatives at holiday parties? (No, Aunt Bertie, I’ve never been kidnapped …) While the situation may not be as dire as poor Aunt Bertie suspects, there are a few simple ways to maximize safety and minimize risk when finding a date online. Enjoy the online dating world confidently with these tips to keep yourself safe when setting up the first date.

Protecting Your Information

Protecting personal information (PPI) is a topic of much concern in an era of security breaches and identity theft. Within the dating world, concerns range from serious to mildly annoying: Won’t that creep just lose your number, already?

Stump identity sleuths by creating a unique username and taking new photos just for use on your dating profile, as reverse image search won’t work if you’ve only used that information in one place. Don’t give out contact information like phone number, email address, physical address, etc., until you’ve established trust. Consider third-party apps that allow you to create a unique phone number that redirects to your everyday line so you can keep in contact with first dates without sending them your actual number.

Safety Plan

Meeting up for a first date can be scary. Help mitigate nerves and risk by choosing a public spot to meet for the first time. Make sure you’re comfortable with the location and that a family member or friend knows where and when you’re meeting up with your date so you can call for help if you end up in a bind. Hopefully, you’ll never need to utilize these contingency plans, but having them in place should give you peace of mind when meeting someone new.

Scouting Fakes

Scammers and jerks are a fact of life. Help us remove them from the site ASAP by reporting sketchy characters. Fakes tend to make themselves known pretty early in an interaction. Look for users asking for bank account information or offering complicated deals and report them via the site.

We’ve recently introduced the “Last Country” feature, which displays the country where a user was last active at the top of their profile. If your first date talked about meeting up in NYC but was last active in London … it might be prudent to ask your date to confirm their location. Using common sense can help weed out both fakes and first-date fiascos. Remember to report any unsavory characters and help make the online dating world safer and happier for everyone.

 

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