Searching for love from the comfort of your home or workplace is a popular trend across the United States. An astonishing 70 percent of single men and women use dating apps during work to look for a love connection, a new friendship, or a short-term romance.
Unfortunately, whether you meet someone online, through an app, or at a friend’s wedding, your potential soulmate could wind up being a dud.
Taking the necessary precautions while on a dating app and before meeting your date is critical to protect yourself. Here are a few tips anyone can use to remain safe while using a dating app.
Never Share Personal or Vital Information
Sharing information about yourself, including your hobbies, favorite books and films, and like or dislike of sushi, is how dating apps help match you with perspective mates. As you get to know someone through a dating app, you might feel compelled to talk about your childhood, where you work, and where you went on vacation last year.
However, you should never give out any information that can compromise your physical or financial safety.
This information includes your home address, work address, work phone number, social security number, bank account information, or address and phone numbers of friends and family.
Set Up a Separate Email Address and Phone Number
The dating app will ask you to share some information about yourself to create a profile. This typically includes a telephone number and email address. Instead of providing your work email and home phone or primary cellular phone number, set up separate accounts and purchase a prepaid cellular phone.
Provide these separate email accounts and alternate phone numbers to the dating apps and anyone you connect with. If the relationship goes sour or you decide to stop using the dating app, you can get rid of the email account and recycle your prepaid phone.
Video Chat Before Meeting in Person
You’ve met someone who seems interesting and want to take the relationship past the instant messaging and texting phase and into your real life. Before agreeing to a first date or sharing your cellphone number, ask the person to video chat. If the person is willing to show their face, even if it is on a computer screen, take this as a sign they are potentially sincere.
However, if your online friend is unwilling to video chat, keeps making excuses as to why they miss calls, or are not the person you expected, take these signs as red flags and do not agree to meet in person.
Perform a Background Check
The person you’ve chatted, talked to on the phone, and video chatted with wants to meet up for a date. This is exciting, and even if there haven’t been any red flags so far, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t protect yourself. One of the most effective ways to ensure you don’t meet up with an unscrupulous person is to perform a background check.
Landlords perform background checks before leasing an apartment, and potential employers perform checks before hiring a new employee. Checking up on a potential mate you’ve never met in person just makes sense.
Choose a service that provides you with the individual’s criminal background, work history, address history, and marriage history. In addition to getting a formal background check, do your homework online before your first meeting. For example, thoroughly examine the person’s social media accounts. Look at their pictures, read their posts and feeds, and look for any questionable information.
For example, if the individual claims they were never married, but you find old wedding photos, reconsider meeting them.
Remain Vigilant During and After the First Date
The time has finally arrived for you to go on a first date. Meet in a public place, drive yourself to the date, and let people in your life know that you are going on a date. Bringing along one or two friends or asking a friend to call or text you periodically throughout the date is a great way to stay safe. Avoid telling your date where you work, where you live, or any other personal information, even if the date seems to be going well.
Remain in the same location for the entire date, and when it is over, call and text a friend to let them know you’re headed home. Walk to your car and pay attention to your date while they leave. If they follow you or make you feel uncomfortable in any way, go to a public place. Don’t be afraid to call a friend to meet you. If the situation seems dangerous, contact the police.
Always trust your gut, and if the situation doesn’t seem right, walk away.
Dating apps are a great way to discover new people because you can remain anonymous and end a potential relationship before you even meet. However, you must make your safety your first priority. The professionals at Kiwi can help you perform a background check prior to your first date, which is one of the most effective ways to protect yourself. Make an account with us today.