Staying Safe on Dating Apps
Dating in the digital age can be frightening. Over half of women and a fourth of men have experienced harassment on a dating app. Unwanted contact can range from unsolicited photos to attempted recruitment by traffickers. If you choose to use dating apps, read on for tips on staying safe.
These tips have been adapted from a presentation by EndTAB. Learn more at endtab.org.
1. Anticipate and prevent harassment and abuse
Before joining dating apps, consider taking the following precautions:
- Set your social media accounts to private
- Google yourself
- Opt out of data broker sites
When you join:
- Use photos you don’t use on other sites
- Use your initials or middle name
- Provide a vague job description rather than a specific one
2. Recognize red flags
Be wary of the following warning signs. Trust your gut feeling above all else.
- Extreme flattery
- Offers of gifts and financial assistance
- Assurance that they will care for you
- Refusal to video call or meet in person
- Social media profiles look new
- Requests for money
- Messaging frequently or erratically
3. Verify accounts
Bumble and Tinder allow you to verify your profile. Although not foolproof, verification can provide some sense of security. If your match hasn’t verified their profile, you can ask them to do so. Hinge and other apps don’t provide this feature, but you can verify a match yourself using Google, social media, and data brokers. Check out our page on dating safer and smarter for more tips.
4. Report and block
Each of the major dating sites provides in-app reporting of matches. All allow you to report anonymously, and some provide additional filtering features for messages and photos.