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.
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 seek to persuade their new online friend to hand over money or other things of value based on some lie.
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.
We have to remember, however, that those intent on attempting fraud will also think how events like the pandemic and technological changes might be worked in their favour. 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 social media or dating service can do after someone has been persuaded to leave the service and communicate with a possible scammer by other means.
Follow our tips below on how to stay date safe:
- 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.
- Online dating is the start of a journey that could result in a new special relationship. But remember until you meet in person you are exchanging messages with someone you have never met.
- Declarations of love to someone you have never met is a common scammer technique. Dating services are a brilliant way of getting started; but 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. 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 as you create a profile and get going. They can be a great sounding board, particularly if online chat takes a new, strange or perhaps worrying turn.
- 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 app or service shortly after meeting to somewhere less secure where they can make a pitch for money without any trace or trail.
- 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. 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. Don’t be any more willing to take and forward money for someone online. It’s not why you are on the service and might involve criminality. End the contact immediately and report to the dating service.
If you know or fear you have been a victim, don’t feel shame or hide the truth. Let others help. The dating service can signpost support bodies and law enforcers. Banks may be able to intervene and help you understand your circumstances. Friends and family may struggle to understand what has happened to you but can be lifesavers.
Help us help others. Fraud agencies and dating services can do more if you can tell them your story.