Online dating safety tips: How to approach online dating

The internet has made us more connected than ever, and it’s also helped countless Australians find their partners for life. But like everything online, it’s important to understand the risks and take steps to be as safe as possible. Here’s some helpful advice on being safe when dating online.

What are some of the common dangers of online dating?

It might seem like the perfect way to find that special someone – it’s easy to get started, you don’t have to leave the comfort of your home, and you can chat to multiple people at once if you like. But online dating also has its drawbacks, particularly with shady characters who will try to use the façade of romance to commit crimes.

Catfishing, for example, is when someone sets up a profile with someone else’s photos and imitates them in order to lure an unsuspecting victim. They might want to steal your money, get access to your home or worse. The advent of photo-editing apps like Facetune, which alters someone’s appearance, has also made it harder to know if you are really talking to the same person you think you are.

Dating scams are also at record highs, with Australians being scammed out of more than $55 million thanks to dating and romance scams in 2021 alone. If you think you’ve been scammed or hacked, it’s important to take action immediately.

Despite these risks, online dating is still hugely successful and a great way for you to meet like-minded people. You just need to know the risks. Here are four easy ways to safely approach online dating – and potentially be more successful!

1. Keep sensitive information to yourself

The number-one rule of online dating is to protect your personal information, especially in the early stages when you haven’t physically met the person you are talking to. That means keeping things like passwords, bank account details and your PIN to yourself. No matter how honest someone seems, if they are asking for sensitive information it’s a massive red flag.

Equally, many dating scams happen because a person will give a sad story and then ask for money. When emotions get tied up with finances, it’s easy to fall into the trap of sending someone money because you think you are in a blossoming relationship.

2. Organise dates in public places

It may seem overcautious in today’s fast-paced world, but it’s extremely important to get to know someone new on neutral territory before you invite them into your home.

When meeting a potential partner, instead of going over to each other’s house, why not go out for a meal, see a movie, or take a stroll in a busy park on those first few dates? If the person you are talking to is honest and true about their intentions, they won’t have any problem spending time with you in a public setting.

3. Keep your loved ones in the loop

Some people are still awkward about the idea of telling friends and family that they are online dating. But your safety is of the utmost importance, and your loved ones will much rather you be a little embarrassed than not know where you are or how to reach you.

Next time you are heading out to meet someone from a dating app, tell your friends where you will be and for how long. Also make sure they know how to contact you, and tell them you will message to let them know everything is fine. You can also use a location-sharing app that will show loved ones exactly where you are in real-time.

4. Catch out the catfish

If you are still unsure about someone you’ve been chatting to, or if you just want to put those concerns to bed before you spend hours getting ready for a date, use the internet to your advantage. Simply plugging their profile information into Google can sometimes reveal whether they are a catfish.

Similarly, using Google reverse image search can show you if those pictures appear anywhere else online – and if someone by another name is using them. If this is the case, run!

Always put your safety first

There will always be pros and cons to online dating. The most important thing is that you are smart about what you are doing, and always put your safety first.

Whether you want to ensure the future you’re building with your new partner or simply cover yourself, life insurance can help protect the life you’ve worked so hard to build. If you aren’t sure where to begin, you can start comparing a range of policies with Choosi today.