When you’re considering online dating, you might see all the good sides at first. You have many profiles to check out, and various potential partners are just waiting for the mutual swipe. You are chatting from your home, and nobody knows where you are (unless you decide to tell them). It seems easy and safe.
However, according to dangers of online dating statistics, 53% of people lie on their online dating profiles. That means you don’t know who you’re really talking to, even if they have the cutest photos.
You Might Get Catfished
Even though catfishing is not illegal, a catfish can waste your time and break your heart. They might fake their whole online identity and lie to you about almost everything. A catfish is simply not the person you see in photos, so it can be dangerous to meet them in person.
They will usually chicken out before it comes to a real-life date, though. They know they’ll be caught in a lie, showing up as a completely different person. Most of the time, they will even avoid video chatting or call you from a dark room. But can you imagine how creepy and potentially dangerous it can be to meet someone who lied about their identity?
Beware of Scammers
Nowadays, there are many known types of scams, such as the infamous Nigerian prince scam. However, scammers aren’t only sending emails in hopes of deceiving a victim. They can be on dating sites, too. They’ll usually be sweet and romantic until they get what they want, and then you’re in trouble.
A scammer can try to get you off the dating platform because it’s “easier” to communicate somewhere else (this doesn’t leave a trace of what they’re doing on the platform). Then, they’ll work on obtaining your personal information they need for fraud like identity theft or even blackmail. You can protect yourself by never giving anyone your full name and address, date of birth, social security number, or other sensitive information.
The Risk of Sexual Assault
Before meeting in person, look for any red flags while chatting online. Your partner may get impatient, pushy, or mad if you don’t respond right away. This shows they might be prone to anger outbursts or violent behavior. Moreover, insisting on meeting up in a secluded location or at their apartment for the first time is a huge red flag. It would leave you potentially vulnerable to a sexual assault. You should be able to agree on where you both want to meet, without any pressure.
You can protect yourself by meeting in a public place, such as a restaurant or a coffee shop. Let your friends know exactly where you’re going, and don’t leave your drink unattended to avoid a potential risk of a date-rape drug being slipped into it.
The dangers of online dating are real. However, even if you’ve met someone offline, it doesn’t mean you are 100% safe. It’s important to be cautious but also have fun. Online dating works for many couples all over the world. If you don’t notice any red flags, your match probably wants to get to know you and have a good time. The best thing you can do is be yourself, enjoy the process, and let things unfold.
©Josh Wardini. All rights reserved.