Meeting People Online: The Dos and Don’ts to Keep you Safe
How to meet people online safely - The Dos
DO trust your instinct
Like most things in life, when it comes to meeting people online trust your instinct! It’s simple – if something feels wrong it probably is. If for whatever reason, the person you’re speaking to online is making you feel uneasy, just drop all contact. It’s simply not worth the risk. Trust your gut – it’s generally always correct.
DO tell someone you’re going to meet your internet date
There’s no harm in telling a close friend or family member where and when you’re going on your internet date. It just gives others an awareness of your plans and therefore more likely to realize if something feels odd or goes wrong. Again this is highly unlikely to happen but better safe than sorry.
DO choose a public place for your first date
It’s sensible to choose a public place as your first date spot – a central coffee shop or busy local bar are good options. Not only is it a more comfortable setting for the two of you to meet (it takes some of the pressure off) but it’s also safer. Being surrounded by people means the chances of something bad happening are a lot slimmer. If the person you’re speaking to online seems reluctant to meet in a public place, this should already send some alarm bells ringing. Never meet someone at their house.
DO beware of money requests
Unfortunately most fraudulent activity when it comes to online dating is money related. If the person you’re speaking to online asks for your bank details or a sum of money, cease all contact with them immediately. Why would someone need to borrow money off somebody they have never met? There is no reason for anyone to ask you for money or your financial information, whatever reason they give. Always keep your bank and account information private.
Don’t be fooled if they behave normally initially. It’s very rare that people will instantly request money. Most likely they’ll try to build up a rapport with you first, getting to know you in the same way as other internet daters and then ask you for money once they’ve established an online relationship with you.
DO tell your friends about your online interactions
It can be easy to get caught up in a sticky situation online because you’re so personally involved and therefore your judgment is clouded. That’s why it’s sensible to discuss your online interaction with a friend or family member just to maintain an unbiased outside perspective. It will be easier for them to tell if something suspicious is going on than you because they’re looking at it objectively. There’s no harm in keeping someone informed.
How to meet people online safely - The Don'ts
DON’T tell them your private information
It may go without saying but it’s important never to give out your personal information when you meet people online. While you may quickly become acquainted with someone over the internet and feel like you know them, it’s important to remember you can’t trust them yet. Remember these people are professionals at manipulation and will be clever about how they ask for your personal information. Don’t be taken in by it.
DON’T rush into meeting
If you’re quickly forming a connection with someone you’ve met online, it may be tempting to meet as soon as possible. But your new feelings could be clouding your judgment. There’s no rush to meet. Simply take some time getting to know their interests and hobbies and meet them once you feel totally comfortable and ready.
DON’T drink too much alcohol
If you’re going on a first date, it’s natural to be nervous and a bit of Dutch courage can be useful to take the edge off. However, stick with 1-2 drinks. It’s important that you’re alert when meeting someone for the first time because you’re much more likely to be taken advantage of if you’ve had too much alcohol. Don’t make yourself an easy target.
DON’T fall into the trap of a sob story
One of the reasons you need to be particularly careful when meeting people online is because scammers can be very clever in their manipulative techniques. One common tactic is for them to tell some form of sob story that will make you feel sorry for them and potentially do something you wouldn’t normally. But it’s easy to get wrapped up in it. Always speak openly about the people you’re speaking to online with friends and family because they can help see if something seems suspicious.
DON’T hesitate to contact our customer care team if you’re suspicious
If you have any doubts about someone you’ve met online, please contact our customer care team as soon as possible. In order to help us ensure that everyone on our site is there for the right reasons, we need your help. If anyone asks you money, please contact our team immediately but even if you suspect any profile contains false information, don’t hesitate to contact here.
We wish you the best of luck in your search for a partner and would like you to remain safe while doing so.