Dating Safety

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For the past decade, online dating has been on the rise in Canada. With all of the dating apps and sites out there like Bumble, Match.com, Hinge, Tinder, Grindr, eHarmony, OkCupid, POF (the list goes on!), it is no wonder that finding that special someone seems easier online than finding them through friends or in person. 

But, there are dangers in meeting people online. Online dating puts you in a trusting position; you want to trust the people that you meet online since you are looking for an intimate relationship. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who try to take advantage of those looking for love in the digital world. People can create fake profiles to lure and exploit others who are using the site or app. Sexual, financial, emotional and verbal abuse are common ways that violent people take advantage of people who they secure trust from on these apps and sites.

Huron DART wants to help keep you safe when online dating. Although technology makes it easier for us to find romance in the digital world, we want to bring awareness towards the dangers that online dating can bring to you. Here are some tips and tricks to stay safe online.

DART on the News: Online Dating Safety in Huron County

February 18, 2021

Huron DART wants to bring awareness towards online dating violence in Huron County. Romance scams and encounters with violent people online are not uncommon. There are services available to help. For local supports, see below or head to our partners page.

People Often Lie on Dating Sites.

It is common for people to lie about their appearance, living situation, and career on dating sites. People can also lie to gain your trust. Be skeptical, and listen to your instincts. Honesty is a key part of healthy relationships.

Lots of Young People Use Dating Sites.

Perpetrators of digital violence frequently target young people. Young people are commonly lured by scammers and violent people on dating sites. Play it safe. See more tips for staying safe online below.

Staying Safe Along the Stages of Online Dating

Getting Started with Online Dating

  • When creating accounts and profiles, your username should not include your real name or other identifying information.
  • Protect your privacy. Do not give out your contact or personal information.
  • Consider using different email addresses, profile pictures, and strong passwords for each dating site. Keeping this information separate from the rest of your life can help protect your privacy and safety.
  • Do a search on yourself or use privacy checking services to find out what information is out there in your name.
  • By doing a simple Google search, you can learn a lot about yourself.
  • If you have questions about privacy checking, call Victim Services Huron: 519-600-4108.

How to Hide your Distance on Tinder:

How to Change your Location on Bumble:

Connecting Online with Potential Dates

  • There is no rush to share personal information online, including pictures. Remember that it is impossible to get information back once it has been shared.
  • Just because someone asks for your info does not mean you have to share it. They should respect your boundaries.
  • Do an internet search about the person. Check out news articles, social media sites, and images.
  • Remember that criminal background checks only turn up information if someone has been arrested and/or prosecuted.
  • Be careful about attachments and links which might install spyware or other malware on to your devices. Don’t open these.
  • Trust your instincts. If you start to feel uncomfortable, it’s always okay to say stop and disconnect from that person.

Online Dating Safety Tips:

Dangers of Online Dating Sites:

Considering Meeting In Real Life (IRL)

 

Be careful meeting people during COVID-19. Remember to follow public health safety protocols before making plans to meet IRL: www.hpph.ca

  • If you are questioning if going on this date is a good idea, ask yourself a few questions:

  Do I feel safe and comfortable?

  Do I know enough about them?

  Is the place we are going a well known, well lit place?

  Have I told someone I trust that I am going?

  • Meet up at the place you are going to instead of having them pick you up. This ensures they do not know where you live.
  • Always bring your phone with you and have it charged.
  • Let a friend know ahead of time where you are going and reach out to them when the date is over.
  • Turn on your location option on your phone and only share that option with a trusted person.
  • Go to the meet-up spot ahead of time so you know what to expect.
  • Only meet in a place that you’re comfortable.
  • Do not send money to someone before you meet them. Watch out for people saying they want to visit but need financial help to be able to see you. They may use other stories to gain your sympathy and then ask for money.
  • It’s okay to schedule short dates, or to cut dates short if you are uncomfortable (no matter how long you’ve already been chatting). Trust your instincts.

Meeting Up Safely During COVID:

Tips for Meeting Offline for the First Time:

Warning Signs of Violent People on Dating Apps and Sites

Online dating makes it difficult for you to know exactly who it is you’re talking to. Violent people often feel untouchable when abusing people online since they are hiding through a screen. Always trust your instincts, and remember to look out for red flags when meeting people online:

  • Little information on their profile. If someone gives limited information in their dating profile, it can be a warning sign that the person on the other side of the screen is hiding who they are.
  • One-track conversations. If someone is pressuring you for sexual content or to meet up for a sexual encounter, this could be a warning sign that they only want to sexually exploit your body.
  • Unable to compromise. If someone cannot meet you halfway and respect your boundaries online, this could be a warning sign of an abusive person. If they are contacting you non-stop even when you don’t respond or pressuring you to meet up in person before you’re ready, they may be showing a dangerous need for control.

Online Dating Safety Quiz

Do you know how safe you are when dating online? Take this quiz and find out more tips and tricks on how to improve your safety.

Quiz: What risks do you take when dating online?

Blocking and Reporting Violent People on Dating Apps and Sites

Is someone making you feel uncomfortable? You can block that person at any time to end all communication with them. If you are experiencing online harassment, talk to someone you trust. Document the violence, and contact the police.

Online dating apps and sites have safety protocols in place to keep you safe. If you experience harassment online, you can report that user to site managers to prevent the violence from happening to another person. Remember, the law and managers of these dating services are on your side and want to ensure your safety when you’re dating online. If you experience harassment, immediately block and report that person.

How to Unmatch Someone on Tinder:

How to Block and Report Someone on Bumble:

If you meet someone online and it seems too good to be true, trust your instincts. 

Be skeptical. It’s okay to ask someone for more information. If you cannot trust them, do not go against your instincts. It’s okay to say “no” if they ask you for more information than you are comfortable with revealing, and it’s okay to block or delete people that make you feel uncomfortable. Remember: you have the right to carefully pick and choose who to share your time with. There are “plenty of fish” in the sea, and you deserve to be treated with kindness and respect.

If you have experienced harassment online or were mistreated by someone, reach out for support: 

Huron Women’s Shelter

1-800-265-5506

OPP non-emergency line 

1-888-310-1122 

Victim Services Huron

519-600-4108

During COVID-19 our partners continue to provide services to support members of Huron County affected by violence.

Huron Domestic Assault Review Team: COVID-19 Service Updates

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger from violence, call 911.

For emergency shelter and safety planning call Huron Women’s Shelter’s 24/7 information and support line: 1-800-265-5506.

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