Staying safe and comfortable on virtual dates

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  1. Don’t share your personal details. “Never share details like your home address and bank details. In online dating, you should be very wary of the people you meet—even if it is someone you have been talking to for a long time,” says DatingScout.co.uk founder Chris Pleines. “Some people do everything to lure you into their trap and illegally use your identity. Others, using your personal and bank information can make purchases under your name. Don’t doxx yourself!”
  2. Watch out for suspicious links. One of the infamous phishing techniques is by sending an unsuspecting victim a link, Chris says. “Always to be wary of suspicious attachments or links. Ask your match what it is all about and check the structure of the link itself. Is the site reputable? Did your match give you a detailed description of what the link is all about? If no and no, make sure you close that chat tab, keep an eye out on this particular user, and report if they send another link again.”
  3. Use a trusted dating platform. It’s important to use a well-known video platform that you trust to conduct your online dates. “This will ensure the video date runs smoothly without technical difficulty and also help protect you. For example, some online video platforms allow you to turn the ability to screenshot off – this will help protect you if your date has malicious intentions,” says eharmony relationship expert Rachael Lloyd.
  4. Only show your face if they’re showing theirs. “Video dating needs to be mutual, so if your date is not showing their face on a video call, see this as a warning sign and consider hanging up. Even if they say they are having connection problems, making sure that you are safe and that they are who they claim to be should be a priority, so don’t feel bad,” she explains.
  5. Know you can end the call whenever you want to. Rachel says you shouldn’t feel you need to stay on the call if conversation has fizzled out or you realise you have nothing in common – or if you feel that something is off/you are uncomfortable. “Politely thank your match for their time and bring the call to a close,” she says.
  6. If you’re suspicious, report your match. If something doesn’t feel right, report inappropriate or suspicious behaviour rather than just blocking and moving on. “Doing this will make sure other people aren’t having the same problems with the same people down the line,” Rachel adds.
  7. Take a look at their social media – and your own. Natasha Briefel at Badoo suggests you check your match’s social media if it’s linked to their profile so you can be sure they’re who they say they are. She adds, “Similarly, make sure your own social media doesn’t give anything confidential away, as they might check you out, too.”

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