While dating apps bring the possibility that your next big love or casual fling could be just one swipe away, they also have a sinister side that you need to watch out for. When using dating apps, the most important thing is your safety and while we’d like to think everyone has good intentions, sometimes that’s just not the case. But worry not, we’ve got some tips so you can avoid becoming a victim of the next Tinder Swindler.
Level up your cyber security
You never know who could be on the other end of a device, so keep your cyber security tight. Use secure passwords and keep up to date with anti-virus software and firewalls to prevent hackers accessing your personal details. Avoid sharing videos or photos that carry location information, and be mindful of the photos and email address you use to create your dating profiles. These details can be used to track you down or find out more information about you without your knowledge.
Take your time getting to know someone
Don't be rushed into sharing intimate details of your life, and limit the amount of personal information that you share like your full name, address, date of birth etc, until you've gotten to know someone better (preferably in real life). Try to ask questions to get to know the other person and pay attention to any inconsistencies in what they tell you. Avoid adding people as connections on your social media profiles until you're confident you can trust them.
Be aware of warning signs
Love-bombing is fast becoming a common term in the dating arena and can result in unsuspecting victims handing over not only their hearts but also their hard earned cash or identity. Love-bombing refers to the act in which a person uses fast-paced attention and affection very quickly after knowing another person for a short period of time. Often this is used as a tactic to make you let your guard down.
While some do this as an emotional game, by ghosting or leaving after you’ve gotten attached quickly, more sinister things like gaining your trust enough to ask for money or pretending they need help can also happen. Watch out for the warning signs such as bombarding you with phone calls and texts, asking for small favours first which can lead to bigger ones, and pressuring you into rushing into things. And if someone asks for money, don't give them any!
Tell someone where you’re going
Whether it’s your best friend, housemate, mum or next door neighbour, let them know where you’re heading and what time you think you’ll be back. This way you’ll have that peace of mind and know that someone’s got your back.
Meet in a public place
Pick a place where you feel most comfortable, whether that’s at a cafe or restaurant. Avoid meeting someone for the first time at their place or yours. It’s also smart to organise your own transport to and from the meeting place, so if anything goes wrong you can leave when you want without relying on someone else to drop you home.
Go with your gut
Trust your instinct, if your date is giving you the creeps or is disrespectful, it’s completely okay to leave the date, block them, unmatch or report them on the app that you used. Your safety is the main focus, so don’t worry about feeling rude. Remember if at any time you feel unsafe on a date, you can contact Sonder who can help you out.
Check on me
The 'Check on me' feature within the app can be used if you would like a Sonder team member to check on you at any time. All you have to do is just choose a time for us to touch base, at any time day or night.
1. Tap 'Check on me' from the home screen
2. Select the length of time you think you'll need, or the time at which you want us to check on you.
3. Let us know any additional details about the person you're meeting or where - this is optional.
4. When the time is up, we will check in and ask you to confirm you're okay. If you need more time, you can use the "snooze" button to extend the session.
If we don't get a response from you at the agreed time, we will do everything we can to get in touch to confirm you're safe and well. If you don't answer, we'll send a member of our team to your last known location. We do this so that we know you're safe and well - it's what we're here for.
If you have any questions or need extra support, we're here to help you anytime in any language. Simply start a chat with us via the home screen of the Sonder app.
Information sourced from: Healthline and https://www.esafety.gov.au/women/being-social/online-dating
Image credit: Edge of Seventeen
All content is created and published for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice.