Online Dating Safety (TIPS + Who is Responsible?)

As the online dating industry continues to expand in multiple directions, its impact can be felt in numerous ways. For starters, the stigma once associated with online dating is quickly diminishing as it becomes mainstream and seen as a legitimate way to meet other singles.

Next, it’s reaching our vernacular with big sites like Match and eHarmony being tossed around like common terms everyone should know. Third, there’s increased press around online dating scams, such as the lady on Christian Mingle in the United States getting scammed out of $500,000 from a man in Nigeria.

When it comes to online dating safety, there’s great debate on who’s responsible. Some say dating sites are 100% responsible and should ensure all members on their site are legit and authentic to protect the welfare of their members.

Others say members are 100% responsible because they should take precautions when meeting someone online so it is up to them. In reality, both are responsible for doing their part for safe dating online.

For site members, they must remember that meeting someone online always involves a certain level of risk.  Therefore, it’s wise to use dating sites who advertise and implement safety precautions because there will probably be a lower rate of scammers on those sites.

However, even if a dating site claims they are taking certain precautions, members should not use that as an excuse to not take certain precautions themselves.  Therefore, no matter what dating site one is using, they should follow the tips for online dating safety below to protect themselves.

Online Daters Should Do The Following:

Create a separate email account for your online dating profile to keep your private one secure.

Take your time getting to know someone online and allow at least 1-3 weeks of communication to discern their authenticity and if you feel a connection.

Next, set up a few video chats through FaceTime or Skype to further discern their authenticity and your connection with them.

At this point, it’s wise to ask for the full name and date of birth so you can run a background check on them to ensure there’s no history of sexual misconduct or criminal background.

If all checks out, move onto setting up your first real date.

When planning this, be sure to keep it in public, let others know where you’ll be and when you should be back, take your own mode of transportation, and obviously bring your cell phone.

Keep dates in public for the first handful of times to look for any red flags, such as someone asking for money, having behavioral fluctuations, or pressuring you to meet alone.

For site owners, they need to realize they have a certain level of responsibility for the legitimacy of the profiles on their site because members come there in good faith by trusting their brand. Therefore, to claim it is entirely up to its members to be safe is negligence on their part because it absolves them of taking any rightful ownership.

Unfortunately, many site owners decide to intentionally ignore fake profiles because it helps their site look fuller and they know scammers will create more revenue for them by sending out numerous messages to other members. Obviously, this is unethical and change is needed. Therefore, the following guidelines are strongly recommended for site owners.

Dating Site Owners Should Do The Following:

Site owners should freeze every profile that is created so they can be manually reviewed before going live on their site. This would require a real person looking at multiple dimensions of the profile to discern if it looks legitimate or not.

It’s amazing how many profiles are blatantly fake but no one is there reviewing them.

Next, if the file is unquestionably fake it should be deleted; however, if you’re not quite sure, freeze the profile and ask the member to send you a copy of their driver’s license to ensure their legitimacy.

A very few spammers will go through the trouble of sending in a fake license. However, it’s a good idea to check any license that is sent with images of real licenses for their state to ensure it looks accurate.

Also, site owners should review their attempted transactions daily. Spammers will often try multiple attempts with different cards and names. Therefore, if you see this then delete the profile the transactions are coming from.

So who is responsible for online dating safety….both the site members and the site owners. As mentioned earlier, online dating involves a certain level of risk and neither site members nor site owners can take out 100% of that risk. However, if both are doing their part consistently, the overall risk will drop dramatically.