Is online dating safe? Your security questions answered
Over the last twenty years, online dating has transformed from a tiny community to a multi-billion-dollar industry. However, that doesn’t always mean your safety is rubberstamped. Fortunately, using a dating platform that uses the latest security procedures, like SilverSingles, is the best way to stay safe online. But because “is online dating safe?” is still a pertinent question, we’ve done our best to allay some of the concerns and show you how it can be secure.
How safe is online dating?
Since its birth two decades ago, people often ask the question “is online dating safe?” We’ve come a long way since the first chatrooms of the 90s, but it’s still worth looking at the security afforded by modern dating platforms, like SilverSingles. Here we chart some of the most common and important areas where your security could be at risk and demonstrate how dating sites protect you (and how you can be cautious yourself!).
Trust your instincts
When it comes to online dating, it’s sometimes people feel the need to shave a few years off their actual age or add on a few inches (vertically speaking). But there are some crucial signs that can flag up a faker. For example, if there’s next to no information on their dating profile and they’re using a grainy looking stock photo, approach them with caution. Or if they seem to have conflicting information on their profile versus what they are saying to you in chat - put your detective hat on and scrutinise a bit.
If at any point you feel that the person you’re talking to isn’t who they say they are, pull the plug and report them to the dating website’s customer care team. The good news is, using a dating site like SilverSingles is a great way to negate this risk; we employ a team to manually verify our user’s profiles to ensure their intentions are legitimate!
Don’t be shy to ask for help
Registering with a premium site like SilverSingles means you’re joining a dating community of great over 50s, most of whom are looking to kickstart an exciting new chapter in life. However, if you’re like many of our members, it could well be your first older dating experience. This might mean you lack experience when it comes to how to write a dating profile or navigate your way around an app.
But there are solutions. Asking a younger family member or friend is a good place to start off. The chances that they’ve used a dating site themselves are high, and they’ll likely be more than willing to lend you a hand. Don’t let a lack of knowledge deter you from a potentially lifechanging experience. You can also check out our handy advice pages for up-to-date info on online dating as well.
Do your research
One of the benefits of our lives becoming more and more enmeshed with the internet is the transparency this provides. Whether you’re using social media sites or working for a specific company, there’s likely a very clear trace of you on the web. And this also goes for any prospective partner you might be in touch with.
Whilst we’re not encouraging anyone to go out there and stalk the web for evidence that the person you’re talking to is who they say they are, it’ll certainly give you peace of mind to know that they really exist.
- Try a reverse image search. Instead of Googling someone's name, you can also Google their image. So save or drag an image into Google and it’ll show you where that image has appeared. If you see stock images or find profiles with different names/information with the same image then your match isn’t being truthful.
Again, if you’re in any doubt that the person you’re talking to is being dishonest, cut contact and report them to the site’s security team.
Never give away personal information
This point might seem like an obvious one, but it’s something that people still get caught out on. At no stage will (or should) any legitimate online dater or dating site ask you for personal information, such as your address, last name, or bank details. If someone demands this information from you, they are most probably trying to scam you.
If this happens, report them immediately to the site’s administrators. There is no situation whereby someone would have reasonable grounds to ask you for sensitive details, especially when it comes to financial info. Luckily, all reputable sites will have fraud protection fail-safes in place to make sure the likelihood of encountering a scammer is next to nil.
- Never add someone on Facebook, social media sites or email until after you have met them in person. This takes you away from the safety of SilverSingles online platform, therefore, still giving you the option to report someone if you become suspicious.
Take your time
If you’re asking “is online dating safe?”, you may easily skim over this point whilst worrying about fraud. But it’s equally as important. In short, make sure you take your time when getting to know someone online. Chatting over a dating app or email can give you a sense that you’ve know the person for a lot longer than you have, and this can create a premature sense of trust.
Just remember that there’s no hurry. Treat your online relationship as one that you’ve started in real life. You wouldn’t rush into a relationship with someone you’d struck up a rapport with within a few weeks, right? Give yourself the time to really get to know the person you’re talking to, and savour the moment too!
Be savvy about meeting up
In this section we’ll go into a few key details, so it’ll likely be quite lengthy. Having built up the anticipation talking online, it’s finally time to meet your match in person. Whilst this is no doubt an extremely exciting prospect, it’s still important to remember that you’re still going to be encountering someone who is, for all intents and purposes, a stranger.
Of course, if they’ve not breached any of the former points, the chance of them having any malintent towards you is slim. But it pays to be sensible, and here’s how. Firstly, make sure your first date is set in a public place. This can be anything from a museum or gallery to a bar or restaurant. Basically, don’t agree to meet somewhere secluded (like a house) or off the beaten track.
If your date suggests something that sounds off and you feel uncomfortable, trust your instincts. Offering an alternative that you feel happy with is a good gauge, and if they don’t budge, cease contact. A top tip here is to recommend a morning or daytime date. That way, not only will it be much lighter out, you can be sure there’ll be more people around wherever you are.
Before you head off, make sure you tell a few people where you’re going. It could also be worth getting a friend or family member to check in with you by way of a text or a quick call. You can also tell friends the name of the person you’re meeting for added security. Finally, if you are going on a date where alcohol could be involved, make sure you don’t overdo it. Being under the influence can put you at risk, which can be avoided by being sensible.
And there you have it, a comprehensive list of how you can practice safe online dating. The bottom line is that if you listen to your head, as well as your heart, you’ll only have one answer when pondering “is online dating safe?” Yes, it is!