Millions go online as a start point to new relationships, whether serious or more casual. Most have a great time, making new important relationships. But, sadly, we have to remember there are some who try to use social media, dating and other services to develop relationships where their intention is to scam their new online friend. Our safety advice will help you stay date safe.
Dating services take user safety seriously and use moderation tools to block scammers. Many offer new ways of proving your identity though “selfies”. The increase in use of video, particularly video chat, is a new barrier to those who try to be someone they are not. Services have secure messaging platforms and reporting tools that enable daters to flag and block any false profiles.
Daters need to remember that no online system is 100% secure and there are practical limits to the checks that can be done and that users are willing to go through. And there is little any dating service can do after someone has been persuaded to leave the service and communicate with a possible scammer by other means such as WhatsApp or email.
Follow our tips below on how to stay date safe:
Do your homework
Do your homework and use social media (Facebook, LinkedIn etc) and google image search to see if the person is who they say they are. This is a first step and should not be completely relied upon but is a useful tool.
Online dating is the start of a journey
Online dating is the start of a journey that could result in a new relationship, but remember until you meet in person you are exchanging messages with someone you have never met. Too often we hear of cases where victims have never met the person they believe they are in a relationship with and have only ever messaged or spoken by phone.
Declarations of love from someone you have never met
Declarations of love from someone you have never met are a common scammer technique. Be wary of those who profess love quickly via messages, or who message you constantly and at odd hours but always have an excuse as to why they can’t meet in person.
Don’t share or do anything you wouldn’t want your friends or family to see or know about
Don’t share or do anything you wouldn’t want your friends or family to see or know about. In some cases where adults have shared sexual images or videos with someone they met online this has later been used to extort money from them. Take care with what you share.
Let friends and family help you
Let friends and family help you as you create a profile and get going. They can be a great sounding board, and can sometimes see things that you might not, particularly if the relationship takes a strange or perhaps worrying turn.
The dating messaging service is there for daters' safety
The dating messaging service is there for daters’ safety. It’s natural as things progress that you will want to move the conversation away from the dating service but be wary of someone who wants to move the chat off the dating service shortly after meeting. This allows them to pitch for money without any trace. We always advise that it’s best to stay on the service and get to know someone a little first.
Talk should never turn to money
Talk should never turn to money. Look out for tell-tale signs that something may not be right: no-one you chat with online should ever ask for money or offer you investment opportunities such as Crypto currency. Finance and romance are very different things. Do not respond to any request for money, however sad the story or desperate some situation is said to be. Similarly requests to purchase gifts cards or vouchers should send alarm bells ringing. Don’t ever take and forward money for someone online as this might involve criminality. You should end the contact immediately and report to the dating service and the police.
If you know or fear you have been a victim, don’t feel shame or hide the truth.
Help us help others. Fraud agencies and dating services can do more if you tell them your story and prevent the same thing happening to someone else.