To avoid being a victim of online abuse, theft or attack, you need to be on the lookout for weird personalities and subscribers with ill intentions. Below are tips to help you stay safe while dating online.
1. Countercheck Website Credentials Before Signing up
If you want to guarantee your safety when looking for love online, then you will need to scrutinize a website thoroughly before signing up. Some sites do not prioritize user security, this can result in various security breaches that can lead to identity theft and even stalking.
To prevent this, always analyze website or app credentials to ensure you sign up in legitimate sites that will safeguard your personal details. In short, signing up to websites before reading reviews and conducting extensive research is a big NO.
2. Avoid Stocking up More Than Enough Personal Information
No matter the security or privacy guarantees provided by matchmaking sites, it is important to disclose as little information as possible.
Only reveal basic information that cannot empower potential stalkers or malicious subscribers. Unfortunately, most users believe that providing substantial information on sites will help in finding the perfect match.
On the contrary, the more information you provide, the higher your chances of being defrauded, attacked or exploited through online means. Information such as home and work addresses, or real phone numbers should be left out.
3. Always Use a VPN When Using Public WiFi
When using public WiFi, it is crucial to understand the number of risks involved. Un-encrypted connections can leave you greatly exposed to hackers, malware and WiFi sniffers.
Some of the dangers that arise when using public Wi-Fi are such as theft of personal information, acquisition of login credentials for potentially sensitive online services and constant monitoring of email, message and chat communications.
Using a Virtual Private Network is the surest way to remain safe when connecting to unknown networks. A VPN will encrypt your connection and protect your personal information from external parties.
Even better, no one, not even the service provider can access the information or data you send over a network when using a VPN.
4. Always Use the App`s or Website`s Messaging System
Sure, it might be tempting to make communication more personal when chatting up your love interest. However, taking things off the site might expose you to many risks, especially when dealing with malicious subscribers.
Most legitimate sites have encrypted their messaging system to offer subscriber protection from potential stalkers or hackers. As such, it is advisable to limit communication strictly to the website, at least until you have confirmed the love interest is as genuine as you.
Although it might get difficult as you grow fond of your online partner, limiting communication to a site`s messaging system will ensure you are secure every time you login.
5. Capitalize on Security Measures Offered by the Sites
Online matchmaking sites usually have enhanced safety features designed to protect users. However, most subscribers tend to assume the security features, choosing instead to focus on chats and replies.
Before chatting up potential love interests, go through your options by clicking on your site`s settings command. At the settings button, you will find various security options such as blocking users, turning off instant messaging and even location settings. Turn off any setting that you feel might jeopardize your security, more so location tracking.
6. Background Checks Are Important
On top of counter-checking a site`s credentials, be sure to examine the user profile of a potential love interest repeatedly. You need to run a background check before proceeding with communication.
Not everyone in a matchmaking site has good intentions similar to yours, for some, it’s an opportunity to exploit innocent subscribers by defrauding or committing other forms of online fraud.
Therefore, to avoid entertaining a potential fraud, take your time to view their profile and run a thorough search to determine whether or not to continue with the conversations.
7. Be Cautious in Your Communication
Always hold back on sensitive information before meeting date in person. If you reveal too much, you might end up providing vital information that can be used to stage online attacks or theft.
Also, in regards to communication, don’t use your main email. As you might have noticed, online sites send you loads of notifications from profile views to likes and even winks.
Maintaining a casual email specifically for your online relationship will ensure you separate online activities from your real life.
Also, it’s safer to provide your date with an easily disposable email address that you can abandon if he or she becomes too much of a nuisance.
8. Remove Geotag Details from Photos Before Posting
To enhance your security when pursuing an online love interest, it is crucial to remove location details from photos, more so before posting on the site.
Although the geographical location is not disclosed on a photo, some tech-savvy subscribers with harmful intentions can use apps to determine the location of the photo.
Be highly cautious of your captions when posting. Avoid disclosing locations in photos you upload to an online dating site.
9. Take Your Time
Most subscribers have high hopes of finding the right match on online dating sites. Due to this, a large number of users end up rushing the entire process by arranging for physical meetings without taking enough time.
Before you decide to share out location information, be sure to practice patience by first chatting through online means. After proving the legitimacy of potential interest, proceed to the next step which can be video calling.
Use resources such as emails, video calls, and Skype to know more about your partner as opposed to rushing for face to face dates.