Let's Learn About Online Dating Safety

Most relationships these days start online. But even before you decide to meet IRL, there are things you can do to reduce risk.

  • Protect your identity. Never share private or personally identifying information, such as your address, phone number, or details about your daily routine, when using social media. Also avoid sharing information about your kids, such as their age or the name of their school.
  • Protect your account and passwords. Make sure you have a strong password for your account and don’t reuse passwords you’ve used on other sites. Use two-factor authentication if it is available. Limit signing in to your account on shared devices to protect your privacy.
  • Check your privacy settings. Review and reset your privacy settings regularly to make sure you are not sharing sensitive and personal information. Choose a username that does not reveal your name, location, or age. Use a virtual private network (VPN), which allows you to connect to the internet securely, keeping your data encrypted.
  • Reconsider linking your social media handles. On many dating sites, there are options to link your Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter account. Your Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter account shares photos of yourself and may include favorite places you have visited and activities you have attended. Your social media accounts may also share information about your friends and the comments they have made on your posts, which can make it easier for people to research information about you.
  • Check to see if your date has a history of causing harm. If you have a bit more information about your date, like their last name and their location, you can also try looking them up on a search engine, like Google, to see if any articles come up that indicate a past of harmful behavior.
  • Reconsider sharing photos and clicking links. Be careful about sharing or posting photos of yourself that you wouldn’t want others to see. That goes the same way as sharing photos you receive from other people. Be careful about clicking on links and attachments. This might install spyware or other malware on your device.
  • Don’t respond to requests for financial help. Never send money or financial information especially over a wire transfer even if the person claims to be in need of financial help. No matter how convincing someone’s reason may seem, never respond to a request to send money, especially overseas or via wire transfer. If you do get such a request, report it to the app or site you’re using immediately.
  • Stay on the platform. Be careful when an individual asks for your personal phone number to continue chatting off the platform. You have every right to decline speaking off the platform in order to protect yourself, your needs and wants, and your personal information.
  • Be wary of suspicious profiles. If the person that you matched with or connected with on the app does not have a photo or does not have a bio, it may be a fake account. It is important to use caution with a person you know so little about.
  • Trust your gut and your intuition. If something feels off, it is okay to cease contact.

If you or a loved one ever requires support in matters concerning sexual violence or abuse, please contact us at The National Sexual Assault Hotline by calling 800.656.HOPE (4673) or by accessing The National Sexual Assault Online Hotline where you can receive 24/7 support.

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