11 Critical Steps for Safe Online Dating [INFOGRAPHIC]

Learn the 11 Critical Steps to protect yourself from the dangers of online dating.
11 Critical Steps For Safe Online Dating
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Why do you need to worry about your Online Dating safety?

Here’s what you can do to stay safe:

  1. Create a new, safe, anonymous email account just for your online dating accounts.

    Gmail/Yahoo/AIM/Zoho all off free and easy email accounts so you can’t be found other places. It’s best to make sure this email address isn’t similar to your other email addresses and doesn’t contain your name or social media handle. The point of this is to make sure this email address can’t be used to find you on other social channels.
  2. Create a protected phone number to use when calling and texting your potential dates.

    Google Voice allows you to screen calls and forward them to your cell phone for free. Remember to make sure you’re using the protected phone number to reply once you start texting or calling your potential date. Once you respond from your regular phone number, the other person now has that number, which is what you’re trying to avoid.
  3. Create a secure photo sharing account so potential dates can’t steal your photos.

    ImageShield allows you to share photos that can’t be saved or downloaded by viewers for free. Photo theft can lead to a slew of emotionally and financially expensive problems such as impersonation and “revenge porn.” Since you’re sharing photos with someone you don’t know, it’s especially important to make sure you maintain complete control over them.
  4. Create anonymous usernames for your online dating accounts.

    Avoid usernames similar to those on your social media profiles, create different names for each dating site you use. The purpose of all these steps to remain anonymous is so that you can easily cut off contact with someone if they aren’t who they say they are, or you just don’t like them. So, make sure your username isn’t the same as your social media handle or your username on other dating sites.
  5. Choose a G-rated photo as your main profile picture.

    This is the only picture you need to post on your actual profile, use your secure photo sharing account to share your more personal and intimate pictures. All you need is one great, non-risque main profile picture to catch their attention. Then, if you like someone’s profile, you can offer them access to your protected photo albums that contain additional pictures. Those can be vanilla or risque, whatever you think is best!
  6. Avoid using identifying information in your profile description

    . Saying what you do for a living is safer than saying where you work, keep it vague until you meet your date in person. It’s easy to give someone an overall picture of you life and interests without revealing too much identifying information. Avoid specific names of schools and workplaces, your birthdate, and specific information about your family or children.
  7. Do as much research as possible on the potential daters you exchange messages with.

    If possible, check their social media accounts and search online to verify the information they’ve told you about themselves is true. Do a “reverse image search” of their pictures, and attempt to locate their social media and Linkedin profiles. If you know where they went to college, that can help locate profiles. This is all to prevent being scammed, catfished, or an unintentional participant in marital infidelity.
  8. Be strict about only using your anonymous contact info until after you meet in person.

    This way, if you decide to cut off contact after the first date it won’t be easy to find and contact you. This can mean taking a few extra steps to double check things. But, if you realize you’re being scammed, catfished, or your date turns out to be a creep, these extra precautions will allow you to exit the situation without risk of being harassed, stalked, or cyberstalked.
  9. Set up an in-person meeting as soon as possible

    . This way you’ll know if you actually like this person and reduce your risk of being scammed, catfished, cyberstalked, or wasting time. The number one red flag when Online Dating is avoiding an in person meeting. Especially if someone is asking for multiple pictures but can never seem to make it to a first meeting. Once you establish that mutual attraction is present, the next step it to meet in person.
  10. Meet in a public place and stay in public; tell your friends where you’ll be and who you’ll be with.

    Tell a friend all the information you have about the person you’re going out with and your location. This may seem like overkill, but having someone that knows exactly where you are and who you’re with can be crucial in the event of something going terribly wrong. If possible, an inconspicuous snapshot of your date or their license plate are useful pieces of information, too.
  11. Always, always, always take your own transportation!

    This is so important, never get in the car with someone on the first date; you always need a way to get up and leave at any moment. If you don’t have your own car, take a Lyft of Uber and have the app ready to go on your phone in case you need to call a return ride in a hurry. If you take public transit, make sure you have your pass and know exactly how to get to the stop or station from where you are.

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