The Dangers of Online Dating and How to Avoid Them

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With one in every three people having tried online dating, it is no wonder that online dating apps and websites are becoming increasingly popular. Whether you are trying out dating apps for fun or to find a relationship, you have to be careful when it comes to the people you choose to meet.

Aside from becoming popular among people who are searching for real connections, the online dating world is also a playground for some not so nice individuals, to say the least. So, what are the most common dangers of online dating, and can you avoid them? Here it is:

  1. Catphishing – it almost goes without saying that one of the most common online dating scams is phishing; catphishers use a false identity to get people to talk to them and meet them. Some use phishing to lie to people about who they are, and some use this scam to get people to give them money. Online phishers will often speak to people for a while to gain their trust and make their victims more malleable. They will also have excuses for they can’t meet up, so if you encounter someone who is just a little too mysterious, be careful.
  2. Cheating – oh, online cheaters… they come in such a large variety of personalities that it is very tricky to catch up with the fact that they are liars. Those who seek extramarital adventures will often do it online because it is easy and accessible from everywhere. Online cheaters will not necessarily be married, making it even harder to spot them. Tell-tale signs of online cheaters are avoiding meetings, only being able to meet at odd hours, and not providing a lot of information about their lives.
  3. Sexual assault – another unfortunate side effect of speaking to strangers on dating sites is not knowing about their past. People who have a violent history and people who have committed sex crimes have it easy on online dating apps and sites, which requires you to be extra careful. If you should always get to know people that you meet online before you meet them in real life, and try to get as much information about their past.
  4. Becoming a one-time thing – online dating has brought with it some “lovely” phenomena, such as ghosting, fading, breadcrumbing, etc., that all basically mean the same thing – that the other party is not interested in something serious with you. If you are looking to have a good time and aren’t into something too serious, then you can skip this paragraph. But if you are searching for a committed relationship, be careful about getting hurt. If the other person is playing games, disappears and reappears, he/she is probably not serious about you, so you should cut your loses and move on.

How to Avoid the Dangers of Online Dating?

Now that you know some of the dangers of online dating, it’s time to get even smarter and learn how to avoid these perils with the following tips:  

  1. Go on first dates in places that you know – it can be a café, a restaurant, or even a park that you are fond of but the most important thing is that you pick a location that you know. You should also pick a spot where there are plenty of people around to make sure you are safe at all times. Never go to your date’s place on first dates, and if they insist you meet alone in a secluded spot, treat it as a red flag.
  2. Tell friends where you are going – before you go on your date, let a couple of friends know where you will be. Dating someone you never met in person is exciting but you should be careful and make sure that someone knows your location.
  3. Get information about your date – people can easily lie about who they are and about their past, so it is up to you to find out the truth and make sure you are dating someone honest. These days, social media can provide you with information about people but it can be falsified. If you want to get accurate information about your date, try a public records search website, like GoLookUp. Public records contain official information about individuals, like their real name, their aliases, marital status, age, criminal records, sex offender registries, address, contact information, and more. By entering an identifying detail (name/phone number/email/physical address) into a public records search engine, you can find accurate information about people and find out if someone is lying to you.
  4. Get to the date on your own – getting picked up for a date is nice but you should get to the location of your date on your own, at least for the first dates. That way, the date won’t know where you live and you will have control over your schedule and transportation, which will keep you safe during and after the date.

Dating is hard enough without having to deal with the new types of risks that online dating has brought with it. Dating apps and websites are a great place to meet potential love interests, but you should play cautiously and only go out with people who are honest with you. It will keep you safe.  

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