The Internet has given us a fun way to meet new people wherever we are. And now, websites like Match, eHarmony, Tinder, and Bumble are synonymous with dating… like the old way we used to do it in the real world.
But unfortunately, not everyone you’ll meet in the online world is well-intentioned, and this fact can become painfully obvious after you’ve put yourself into a vulnerable state in the hopes of finding true romance.
Admit it… everyone knows this. Not everyone in the world is a good person, online or in the real world. And some are super scary, like the guy who got in his car and drove into the woman he met online after an argument. After she invited him into her home!
And men, you need to take precautions too. A Maryland man was reported missing in April after going on a first date with a woman he met on the website Plenty of Fish, and now his date was arrested in connection to murder after his remains were found.
It’s easy to get caught up. I mean, you’ve met a lot frogs in the past and suddenly someone is definitely more “prince.” You start talking about your favorite places to travel, meeting each other’s families, all the things that make it so easy to jump a few step forwards before you’ve even met. But don’t fall for it. Remember, if he or she is really that amazing, you’ll have time to find out. So put safety first. …
- Trust your gut.
Make that voice in your head your best friend. If your instincts are telling you that something is wrong, don’t question it. Your safety isn’t worth the risk. You are never under any obligation to stay in a situation that doesn’t feel right. Period.
- Meet in a public place.
There is safety in crowds. Keep away from remote locations or activities that could leave you trapped with a stranger you might not feel comfortable with. Go somewhere more public to get to know a person before deciding be completely alone.
- Always Lead With Safety First.
Protect your identity. Never give any personal information to a stranger on the Internet. This includes your last name, address, or financial information. It’s scary how much data can be found online with a simple name or address search. Think twice about sharing your cell phone number from the get-go, as the built-in message tool found on many websites and apps is a better place to communicate until you’ve met in person and made the judgment that it’s okay to exchange numbers. And always, always, always… ask for your date’s SafetyPIN before meeting up in real life to make sure they can be trusted.
- Tell Someone.
Always tell a friend where you’re going and when you’ll be home. Then ask them to check on you at that time. Many phones even have a location-tracking feature that can be shared to let your friends know where you are. And be sure to check in with your friend if the date moves to another location.
Watch this short video to learn more about how asking for a SafetyPIN can keep you safer: