The online dating industry is massive and around half of us will now use an online dating site at some stage of our lives.
Whenever you see an advert for a dating site you will see happy couples saying how wonderful the experience of online dating was.
If you speak to friends, they will usually only mention they are doing online dating if they have success with it. You don’t usually hear your friends saying that they have had a terrible time doing online dating. People tend to keep the bad experiences to themselves.
Because it has gone mainstream, national media love to dig up a story now and again to tell you how devastatingly scary online dating can be. Tricks, scams and worse all dished up to the public for consumption with relish.
But the stories are not without foundation. Researchers at University of Leicester carried out a study into online dating and found that around 200,000 people in the United Kingdom may have been the victim of some sort of dating scam.
So here are our top tips to keep you safe while you are dating online.
Always Choose The Best Dating Site For Your Safety
Never just sign up to the first online dating site you find. Make sure you do some basic research before committing yourself to creating an account.
So the first online dating tip is research the sites you may want to use before you make a commitment. This is especially true if there is a financial commitment involved. Also, you don’t want to spend time creating a great profile only to have to delete it after week because the site is full of idiots or empty, or both.
The sites we promote here on Taxi For Cupid are large worldwide brands with millions of members. Always be wary of smaller dating sites, basically ones you’ve not heard of.
Get Your Wallet Or Purse Out For Online Dating
Paying for membership at the start may stop you paying financially, or emotionally, later.
Although there are some good free dating sites, the problem with any of these is that because they are free, they attract anyone to make an account in seconds.
You are less likely to meet a scammer, or time wasting idiot, if everyone on the site is paying for the privilege of making contact with each other. A datin site where everyone is financially investing creates a more refined environment.
Always make sure that if you decide to leave a site, that you ensure your membership is cancelled before you do so. Lots of people have been caught out through repeat billing continuing without realising.
Never Give Away Personal Information Easily
We have already covered this on Taxi For Cupid recently. The more information you give away, the more easy it is for somebody to find out where you live.
You need to retain an air of mystery, not only to attract people to you, but also so you do not attract mental people and scammers.
Enjoy The Experience Of Online Dating But Be Sceptical
Especially if you are a lady, the instant your profile goes live you will be bombarded with messages from good-looking guys, and not so good looking guys.
If you are a guy, your dating inbox will probably resemble the Kalahari most of the time, but you do get to contact lots of women who wouldn’t look at you if you fell dead at their feet.
It’s easy to get carried away like a child in sweet shop. But you must remember that all you know about these people is from a photo and profile text. That photo could be anyone and profile text can be made up, so always remember to keep your guard up.
Ask lots of questions and make sure you check for inconsistencies in answers from previous responses, or against information contained in their profile.
Also look for how they type spell words and structure sentences. Does it seem like they are speaking their native language? Foreign scammers are often not fluent in your language and are easier to spot.
So ask lots of questions and try to build up a genuine banter with someone over time. If someone is continually turning the conversation back to you without giving any in-depth answers, ask yourself why.
Do Not Chat Off-Site Unless You’re Protected
Never give out your phone number so that someone can add you to WhatsApp unless you are ready to move to the next stage.
If there is no chat function on the dating site you are using, use an anonymous smart phone chatting appat such as Kik messenger. There are other similar chat apps out there which do not require the swapping of phone numbers to start a conversation, so use those to start a more fluent textbased chat.
Watch Out For People Being Too Perfect
Remember that whenever you are talking to someone, and even after the first meeting, people will always be complimentary and polite and tell you what you want to hear initially.
Always look out for someone who seems to perfect, or too good to be true. If they start talking very quickly about the next stage of your relationship, and doing big things together, be wary. Especially if after only a handful of dates, it could be that they are trying to sweep you away to make you lose a sense of proportion and cloud your judgement.
Avoid The Emotional Vampires On Dating Sites
As well as people trying to scam you for money or possessions, you may find there are emotional vampires on the dating site is well.
These people are usually seating to make themselves feel better by flirting with you and sucking the life out of you by grinding you down in conversations, usually without actually ever meeting. They will usually cancel dates with excuses ranging from family problems through to car crashes.
Again, the best thing to do is take it slow and make sure that you keep yourself in control of the conversation you are having. If you feel out of control at any time, or that you are going to quickly, just stop. Tell the other person that you feel a bit rushed and if they are genuine they will understand.
Online Dating Is About Being Sensible
Just as offline, keep your wits about you. If something doesn’t feel right, trust your gut instincts as much as dating safety tips.
Sometimes this can mean walking away on a date. If someone is demonstrating unstable all emotionally damaging behaviour, just make your excuses and leave.
And it’s the same on the dating site itself. If someone’s messages are becoming heavier and more demanding, tell them to stop. If somebody is digging for information in their questions, or pushing you into a quick date, ask yourself why.
This doesn’t mean become paranoid. There is a strong case for not chatting too long online. If you go on too long, you can build a rapport with someone which is then not repeated offline, leading to a sense of wasted time.
So it’s a judgement call that you have to make. Only you can know when it’s right to meet someone, but when you do make sure your guard is up just as it must be on the dating site itself.