It’s bad enough when your online date turns out to be rude, obnoxious, or just not your type. A first date with someone you met online can also turn into a nightmare. Someone who seemed worth meeting may turn out to be a sociopath or even a psychopath. You can end up assaulted or even a murdered if you don’t take basic safety precautions. This recent headline is a case in point:
When you read the article, it’s easy to see the online dating safety mistakes she made.
Tinder and Grindr are notrious for horrible outcomes. Just Google “Tinder Grindr murders” and “Tinder Grindr rape” if you don’t already know this. So first and foremost, choose a dating site other than Tinder or Grindr. To keep yourself safe when looking for love online, follow these seven basic saftey precautions:
- Be aware of scammer behaviors. Scammers frequently request your personal email address, phone number, or other personal information early-on. They commonly give you their email address and ask you to move the conversation to email from your personal account. Inevitably the email address is from a free site (i.e. gmail) that does not guarantee the person you are emailing is who they say they are. Scammers will send flattering messages, often professing immediate love. They often target women have cited loneliness in their profile and those recently divorced or widowed.
Scammers will often use a hard luck story to make you feel sorry for them. Then they’ll ask for help or money, or get you to offer it because you are “such a nice person”. One of the top scams is someone who states they are from your country but travels for work or is stationed outside of the country (i.e. working on an oil rig, buying antiques, in the military, etc.). They’ll say they’ve lost their ID and money, have been arrested on false charges, or injured and urgently need money to get back home. Another scam is to offer you money to gain your trust. All you’ll get is a counterfeit check which will bounce and cause problems at your bank. Worse, they’ll have your home address.
- Get his phone number first. After you’ve exchanged messages and it’s time to talk on the phone, the man must provide his phone number first. If he asks for yours first, counter with a request for his number. This is important because no legitimately eligible man who is interested in pursuing a relationship with you has any reason to withhold his phone number. If he does, he’s hiding something. That’s a HUGE safety red flag, big enough to end the conversation immediately. When he does provide a phone number, be sure to Google it to help ensure he is the person he says he is.
- Meet in a very public place for your first date. A busy coffee shop or cafe is ideal, as is meeting during the day instead of the evening. While there isn’t much privacy, the presence of others will be of help if an unpleasant situation develops. If your intended date refuses to meet at a public place or insists on a place where you are isolated from others (i.e. a park, your home, his home, his office, etc.) simply move on.
- Provide your own transportation. When you’re meeting someone you don’t know for the first time, get there and leave on your own. You don’t need a potential nightmare knowing where you live or what seems to be a dream date turning into a nightmare when he drives you home.
- Pay your own tab. Men sometimes believe that if they buy you dinner, or even a cup of coffee, they are entitled to sex. Arriving early and buying your own cup of coffee is a good way to circumvent any disagreement about paying your own way.
- Abstain from alcohol consumption. The number one date rape drug is alcohol. Alcohol reduces your inhibitions which makes it easier for a man to commit boundary violations. Alcohol dulls your danger radar, which can put your safety and even your life at risk.
- Don’t leave your food or drink unattended. Date rape drugs are colorless and odorless. The drugs make you weak and confused, or even make you pass out. Those who are drugged often don’t remember what happened while they were drugged.