DENVER (KDVR) — Millions of people use online dating services and apps every day. Online Dating can be scary, especially given the countless stories of catfish.
With apps like Bumble, Tinder, Hinge, among many others, protecting yourself can be the same on every level.
Many are wondering what they can do to stay safe after arrest documents show a A 22-year-old woman tied up a man she met on Tinder inside his Colorado Springs apartment for hours, when she allegedly stabbed, choked and threatened to kill him.
Here are some important reminders and tips to protect yourself if you decide to venture into the world of online dating.
What are the risks of online dating?
Be safe online says there are risks you might overlook when it comes to online dating.
“The vast majority of people who use dating sites are truthful and honest in the information they provide and the reasons for joining. However, there are exceptions, and you should know how to protect yourself and your account. banking and your savings, when you meet people online”, the shared site.
Here are some of those risks:
- Stalking and harassment
- People pretending to be someone they’re not
- Webcam blackmail – Someone could record what you do in front of your webcam and then use the recording to get money from you
- Potential theft of your money if you don’t use a secure link when making payments
Your dating profile
When it comes to setting up your dating profile on a reputable dating site, it’s important to take extra precautions to stay safe.
The National Network on Rape, Abuse and Incest says there are easy steps to ensure your safety:
- Use different photos for your dating profile than you use on social media. If you use the same photos, someone could use Google to perform a reverse image search and find your social media accounts.
- Choose a username that doesn’t let everyone know who you are
- Keep your details private
- Be careful when opening email attachments from someone you just met
- Keep your computer security software up to date
- Create an anonymous email for your dating profiles
Here are some things to consider when talking with someone online or by phone/text:
- Avoid Suspicious Profiles – If someone you matched with has no bio information or a single photo, it could be a fake account.
- Not Responding to Requests for Financial Aid
- Take your time – Don’t tell your life story right away
- Do your research
- Report suspicious behavior
The Federal Trade Commission said to be aware of romance scammers. They are scammers who establish a relationship with their targets to establish their trust, sometimes talking or chatting several times a day. Then they make up a story and demand money, the FTC said.
Here are some of the lies these scammers might tell you:
- They work on an oil rig
- They are in the army
- They are a doctor with an international organization
Here are some of the reasons the FTC says scammers ask for money:
- To pay for a plane ticket or travel expenses
- To pay for surgery or other medical expenses
- Pay customs fees to get something back
- To repay gambling debts
- To pay for a visa or other official travel documents
If you think you’ve been scammed, you can report it to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. You should also end communication with that person immediately.
Meet in person
When it’s time to meet someone in person, there are several steps you can take to keep yourself safe. Tinder Security says you should consider the following:
- Wait until you feel comfortable and don’t feel pressured to meet someone until you’re ready
- Do you research someone before you meet them for the first time
- Tell your close friends where you are going, including giving them access to your location using an app like Find My Friends
- Meet in a public place – Do not return to the apartment or house of someone you just met
- Provide your own transportation
- Know your limits and be aware of the effects that alcohol can impair your judgment or alertness
- Do not leave drinks unattended
- Do not disclose private information, such as your specific address or place of work
- If you feel uncomfortable, leave and end the date
One of the most important things to remember when it comes to online dating or dating apps is that you should always trust your instincts. If something is wrong, it probably isn’t.
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