Today many people are dating online more than ever, especially during the last couple of years. Online dating increased with the onset of COVID-19 since people could not physically meet and could only use dating sites which increased significantly. Sites such as Tinder and dating.com reported an increase in the number of users. There are many dating sites and some of these dating websites are free to use. This means you don’t have to purchase any subscriptions and are available to everyone. In using these free websites one of the most important things to keep in mind is your safety as there are many vices on the internet like stalking, kidnapping, and identity theft. Here are some tips on how you can stay safe while using these free dating websites.
1. Limit personal information
In most dating platforms you have the choice to determine the kind of personal information that you want to share. You should limit the amount of personal information that you share. The best way to go about it is to take the online platform as a stranger where you do not share all your personal information with a stranger. The information to limit should include; your address, the place you work, and other intimate personal information about someone you have just met online. It is also advisable to avoid putting pictures that can reveal your physical location.
2. Look out for suspicious behaviors
In meeting people online, you should be on the lookout for any behavior which you may term suspicious and report it. If in any case, you are uncomfortable with a person whom you have just met online you can block or better yet report them. Some suspicious behavior may include; the individual may be requesting pictures that you are not willing to share. The individual might be asking for financial favors or the individual might be using language which is offensive or harassing. If you encounter such individuals it’s always advisable that you report them to the dating app support system
3. Do a little background check
Doing a little background check on someone who you have met is not a bad thing. This is because most of the time people tend to misrepresent themselves on dating websites. An easy way to do this is to ask for their social media handles where you can check out their public profile and determine if the information they have on the dating website matches the one on their social media handles. The goal here is to find out if they are who they say they are. In doing your research, request a video call so that you get a clear picture of the person you will be meeting.
4. Meet in a public place
Once you have met up with someone and sparked some chemistry to a point where you have decided to meet, it’s advisable to meet in a public place. Before going out to meet it’s important to discuss the boundaries, these are the do’s and don’ts, and everyone should agree to abide by the boundaries. Many dating websites recommend that for the duration of your first date you should meet in a public place where there are many people. It can be a restaurant, a park, a coffee shop, or even a movie theater. You should also have your own transportation for the date. This way you can ensure your safety as you get to learn more about the other person. It’s also very important to share the location you will be meeting the individual with a close friend as a safety precaution.
5. Look out for red flags
After meeting someone on dating sites you should look out for red flags and listen to your instincts. If you have a gut feeling that something is not right don’t follow through with the person. If the individual dodges important questions or gives vague answers while you are trying to know them is a huge red flag. Another thing you should be on the lookout for is fake profiles, you may find someone has just one or two pictures which can be an indication that the profile is not real. You should also check if the person is local and wants to meet in places that you are not comfortable with like in hotels is another major red flag that you should avoid completely.
These are just a few ways to keep safe while using free dating websites, there are many more that you need to check out as your safety should be your top concern.