Safer Online Part 15 – Online Dating

Online dating is a great avenue to meet new friends and potential romantic partners, but it brings with it some pretty serious dangers. People who you meet via online dating sites may not always be who they seem, and catfishing is rampant.

A ‘catfish‘ is a person who creates an online dating profile through which they pretend to be somebody else. They might use a fake name, fake pictures, and a fake life story among other things to paint you a mental picture of the person they aren’t.

It can be difficult to tell if someone is catfishing you, and so we delve further into how to check if someone is telling you the truth about their identity below.

If you‘re using the internet to date, remember:

  • Always have a conversation with someone and get to know them before you agree to meet in person.
  • Ask to speak with them over video chat, or on the phone to verify that they are the person in their pictures. Someone who is being honest about their identity will rarely have an issue with this and will take comfort in knowing you are, too.
  • Also, ask if it is okay to add them on Facebook if you have an account. This way, you can check out their profile, pictures, and friends to get a clearer picture of who they are.
  • Always agree to meet in a busy public space, like a cafe, during the day. Make sure there are people around who can help you if you get into trouble and consider asking a friend or family member to be situated
  • Never tell them personal information like your address even if they are offering to pick you up.
  • Make sure that you can get to and from the meeting place independently and safely. You don‘t want to be reliant on them for a ride home if you don’t like them.

Check in again next week for the next instalment: How to Tell if Someone is Who They Say They Are