Safe Dating Tips: Save Your Feelings & Money
The online dating industry is probably the most controversial one. On the one hand, it can help us find love and make us happy. On the other hand, we know that we can be scammed, lose our money, confidence, hopes, and the ability to see the best in people.
Our goal is not to let that happen or quickly recover if this has already happened. That’s what we’re going to discuss in this guide. Here, you’ll find safety dating tips as well as recommendations on what to do if you’ve met an online scammer.
Safe dating tips—how to prevent a problem?
Of course, preventing a problem is better than letting it happen. How to protect yourself from dating scams? Follow these tips:
- Never provide your real contact details in your profile.
- Don’t interact with users that have obviously fake profiles.
- Use search with an image on Google to make sure that the photos of a person are real, not stolen.
- Avoid people who want your relationship to move too fast—there’s a chance that they just want to gain your trust without wasting too much time on it
- Use video chat and call services to make sure your online match is who they say they are.
- Don’t send explicit photos and videos to someone you’ve met online
- Use strong passwords, change them regularly
- Never send money/provide your billing information to anyone
Find more safe dating tips and recommendations here.
What to do if you’ve been scammed? Step-by-step instruction
What if you’ve already sent money to your online girlfriend or boyfriend? First of all, just stand the thought of being scammed and never getting your money back. It’s just the right approach—the chance to get it back is very small, and you don’t need another disappointment. Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try, especially considering that your report can save someone else from falling into the same trap.
So, here’s what you should do:
- If you’ve just sent your money to a scammer, contact your bank immediately and ask to cancel the money transfer (if it’s still possible).
- After that, make screenshots of all the messages you have, upload any photos and videos, anything that can be evidence of a scam
- File a police report (the FTC/FBI)
- Report scams on a dating platform itself
Then you just need to wait for the response. Again, the truth is that you’ll hardly get any compensation, at least in the near future, but we still recommend reporting scams. It’s not the most pleasant experience, but ignorance is the desire to hide the fact of being scammed is what lets fraudsters go unpunished.
How to deal with other types of online dating scams: cyberstalking, blackmail, phishing
Unfortunately, money loss is not the only bad thing that can happen to an online dater. Here are the other common types of online scams:
- Cyberstalking. If you understand that you’ve been stalked, i.e. if you face any kind of abuse, if you feel that you’re in danger, don’t keep interacting with this person. Immediately file a police report, explain the situation to your friends and preferably family members and of course contact the support of the dating website to notify them about the problem—an account of this person is likely to be suspended or deactivated immediately.
- Phishing. This is one of the biggest problems of the Internet community. If you don’t want your billing details to be stolen, create strong passwords, change them regularly, and if it has already happened, contact the police and call your bank immediately.
- Sextortion. If you’ve sent any explicit images and videos to someone and are now blackmailed, there are a few important rules to follow. First, don’t be afraid to contact the police to get recommendations and follow them. Notify the administration of your dating platform immediately. Don’t send money because that often leads to more blackmailing, not solving the problem.
Just remember that this can happen to anyone. This is not the worst thing that can happen. The only right strategy, in this case, is to stop panicking, calm down, and take rational measures to solve the problem or at least mitigate the consequences and protect others.