t’s easy to get excited when using dating apps like Tinder, Grindr and Bumble. After all, the anticipation of finding someone new and ultimately enjoying a date can be a total adrenaline rush. But before you start searching through photos and profiles of prospective dates, there are some precautions you’ll need to take in order to protect yourself – and your privacy.
You’ve probably heard the old saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Well, it’s never been more important to follow that maxim than it is with dating apps. The more cautious you are upfront, the safer you’ll be when you start connecting with others.
It starts with the sign-up process. If all a dating app asks is your name, email address and phone number, look elsewhere. There has to be some in-depth questions that help others decide if you’ll be a good match. Dating apps that promote long-term relationships require answers to questions that will showcase your personality and your unique dating preferences. Speaking of your email address, don’t give it out! Instead, set up an anonymous email address specifically for use with dating apps. There are many different ones available, just Google “anonymous email services.”
Here’s something else to consider: the dating apps that really want to promote safety for its users ask a series of questions to validate that you really are who you say you are. The fact is, so many people set up fake accounts using phoney names or locations. You can’t be 100% sure you’re dealing with the person that they claim to be, but a dating app that goes the extra mile to verify a person’s true identity is the one you want to use.
When comparing dating apps, make sure they offer you the ability to control who gets to see you and your profile and who gets to message you. If you can’t block certain people from reaching you through the app, you’re asking for trouble. There are some dating apps that require both parties to agree to connect before they start messaging. This will probably limit the number of messages you receive, but at least you won’t be getting messages that annoy or disturb you.
Because you don’t know who will be viewing your data and profile, it’s best to limit the amount of personal information that you share. Unfortunately, there are some folks out there who troll dating apps looking for personal information to steal for the purpose of identity theft That’s why you should never put out key information like your last name, exact address, work information, or your personal phone numbers. Also, never link your dating app to your Facebook account or any other social media site.
Instead of sharing your phone numbers, you can use Google Voice. You simply choose your location, select a phone number and Google Voice will then forward calls to your actual phone. It’s an easy process, and when you go to Google Voice, set up is fast and painless. Another word of caution: never reveal your other social media account handles. When you decide that someone you meet is right for you, you can always share that information later. Here’s something else to consider: if you’re not sure if the person you’re communicating with is really who they say they are, you can go to www.nuwber.com to verify their identity. All you have to do is plug in their name and/or phone number and you’ll get accurate info on who you’re dealing with. It’s peace-of-mind that’s easy to access.
One other tip has to do with the photos that you post on your dating app. Try to have unique photos of yourself that haven’t been posted anywhere else. Why? Because it’s really easy to do a reverse image search using Google, and if you’ve posted photos that are also on Facebook or other sites, people will be able to gain a lot of information about you that you weren’t necessarily ready to share.
Going from Dating App to Date
At some point or another, you’re going to connect with someone that you’d like to meet in person. After all, that’s why you went on the dating app in the first place. You’ll need to exercise caution on that date in a manner similar to what you’ve been doing on the app. For example, don’t let anyone pick you up – arrange your own transportation to your meeting, and always meet in a public place.
Even though you’ve been connecting with someone, they’re still a stranger to you until you get to know them. Use the same caution you’d use with any stranger. If you’re meeting for drinks, don’t leave your drink where it could be tampered with. For extra vigilance, don’t consume too much alcohol. You want to be alert and on your game when meeting someone for the first time.
A lot of people ask friends to check in on them while they’re out. Let a trusted friend know when and where you’re planning to meet your date, and have them call you at a specified time to make sure all is going well. Finally, always have some cash with you in case of unexpected emergencies.
Dating apps are popular and effective, and if used properly can lead to all types of exciting new relationships. The key is to use caution to protect yourself and your privacy. Never give out last names, phone numbers, work information or your location. Don’t link your dating app to Facebook or other social media, as someone can use that to find out more about you than you’d like to disclose. Never disclose your phone numbers; instead, use Google Voice to set up a number that will forward phone calls to your phone. Verify the identity of your connection using Nuwber.com. Also, post unique photos that aren’t used anywhere else, so people can’t do a reverse image search. Finally, when you do meet for a date, exercise caution. Meet in a public place, and let a trusted friend know when and where you’re meeting someone. Have your friend check in on you at a set time. Take precautions, but most importantly, enjoy yourself!