Going on a first date can be daunting, especially if you’ve met online. Not only are you putting yourself out there, but you’re also meeting a total stranger. But with 270 million people across the world using a dating app, meeting someone online is the new norm.
Connecting with someone online has its risks, for both men and women. Here at help me Angela, we don’t want fear to fuel your life. Instead, we want you to take ownership of your fear and #livesafer through education and awareness.
Here are some of our safety tips to keep in mind when going on an online date.
Use a trustworthy site
First and foremost, make sure you’re using a well known, reputable dating site or app. More well-known trustworthy sites have a verification process. Some, for example, ask users to take a selfie in a random pose they select for the user so they know you are who you say you are. Other apps ask for a photo of your ID to verify your age.
Keep your personal information private
Be careful about the information you choose to share. Don’t give out too much personal information, such as your address, go-to hangout spots, or your birthday. Wait until you’ve met your date a few times and know them a little bit better before sharing more about yourself.
Romance scams, or confidence scams, result in the highest amount of financial losses when compared to other internet-facilitated crimes. In roughly six months in 2014, over $82 million was lost through romance scams. This number is only increasing, so never send your date any money, and make sure they are who they say they are.
Do your research
With online dating, first impressions are everything, so it’s no surprise that over 50% of people ‘exaggerate’ their profiles. But at what point does exaggeration become dangerous? Always do your research before meeting your date. Be it a Google search or a scroll on social media, it’s important to make sure your date hasn’t given you false information. And, before you meet your date in person, video call them. It’s good to get reassurance that they are who they say they are before you meet in person. It might ease your first-date nerves, too!
Meet in a public place
Whether it’s your first, second, or third online date, make sure you meet in a public place. Whether that’s in the town centre, a bowling alley, or a popular restaurant. That way, if you feel a bit uncomfortable, you can let someone around you know. Meet your date at the venue and arrange your own transport.
Tell someone where you’re going
This is key! Tell at least one person where you are going, who you are meeting, when you’re likely to get home, and any other important details. Don’t accept a lift from your until you know them a bit better. Instead, ask a family member, friend, or housemate to collect you at a certain time. If you feel the date is cut short and you’re having a great time, you can always arrange a second one!
Stay sober and alert
It’s so easy to have a few drinks and think nothing of it, but it’s important to stay sober and alert when meeting someone in person for the first time. Your date might not have the same intentions as you, be mindful of that.
Use our personal safety app!
Our app, help me Angela, is a gamechanger when it comes to online dating. You can set a Follow Me journey before you set off. This means that our Personal Safety Specialists can see where you’re going and can track your location if necessary . They’ll be there if you need them, all you need to do is simply press the ‘Help me’ button and they will try to call you immediately.
We also have the Get Me Out of Here feature. Tap the blue ‘Get Me Out of Here’ button through the My Messages section of the app, and our Personal Safety Specialists will call you immediately and guide you away from the situation. Answer the call as you would to a friend or family member.
There is no reason why we can’t use an online platform to find a meaningful relationship, everybody loves a Tinder success story!
The takeaway is to be cautious; if a profile looks fake, trust your gut and steer clear. And, use the help me Angela app for added security on your date.