These days it’s effortless to find people online, and scammers use this to take advantage of unsuspecting people.
Popular targets for scammers are people using dating sites and apps. They pose as singles in the hopes of getting money or stealing identities.
How can you date safely in 2023? Here are ways to protect yourself before meeting and on the day itself.
Before the Date
The online connection may be going very well, and you’re both ready to meet in real life. Before you do, there are some precautions to take to be sure they’re who they say they are. Thoroughly check them out online; if they’re who they say they are, most likely, that’ll be an easy task.
Be informed of the current scams, including people asking for money and those posing as others.
Check Them Out Online
Use online tools to research the person further, to be doubly sure they’re who they say they are. Search for social media pages that contain similar images to the ones provided. Perform a reverse image search to ensure photos haven’t been stolen.
Dig deeper using people search sites to ensure they have no criminal convictions or judgments against them.
If the person has zero online presence, this should immediately cause concern.
Beware of Scams
One of the ways online scammers work is via dating profiles. They’ll be prepared to spend time convincing you they’re in love when all they’re doing is setting you up.
The two most common dating app scams are being asked for money or being catfished.
Asking for Money
Scammers are after money. Via dating apps, the most common requests are:
- Funds to purchase a camera — so they can video chat with you
- Assistance for a medical emergency — theirs or a close family member
- Bus or plane ticket to come to meet you — as they’re based out of your town or state
Once the money is sent, they disappear forever.
Some people, for whatever reason, pose as someone else in the hopes that feelings will develop online, regardless of what they look like. The thought process is that all the intense conversations will result in a love match when you meet, despite not being who they say they are.
One of the red flags for a suspected catfish is that they’ll never video chat. They’ll always have an excuse as to why they can’t.
On the Date
Once the person has been checked out, it’s time to plan the first date. Regardless of how intense the feelings were online, anything can change face to face. Choose the venue wisely, involve a friend, have an exit strategy, and make savvy decisions.
A Public Place
Never meet a person for the first time at their or your home. A public place with good lighting is a safe haven. Choose a location that’s not too noisy so that you can still maintain a conversation.
Include a Friend
Having a friend sit strategically in the venue is a great idea. They should be close enough if you need help but far enough away if the date goes well. Have a pre-arranged signal that everything is ok or not.
An Escape Plan
If the date doesn’t go well, or the person instills fear, make an escape. Before the meeting, locate all the exits of the venue. Either have your own car, or at least money for a cab, if you need to make a quick getaway.
Alcohol consumption can impair judgment, and you may make decisions that you’ll regret later. For a first date, stick to water or soda, and remain in control of your actions.
Dating Safely is Possible
Taking a few simple precautions, it’s possible to date safely in 2023.
Before meeting, do a thorough online check on the person to confirm they’re who they say they are. Be aware that scammers usually ask for money or pose as someone they’re not.
On the date, meet in a public place, have a friend sit nearby, prepare an exit strategy, and avoid drinking alcohol.
An online romance can change once it becomes a real-life situation, be prepared and the chance of success is higher.