Navigating online dating can be a bit of a minefield, not least of all when you aren’t familiar with the ‘rules’ that apply when it comes to protecting yourself from being shafted by an ‘African prince’ or finding yourself in the back on a white van on your first date.
Because with people joining sites in their thousands unchecked and a staggering 30% of people meeting people on the web alleged to be fraudsters, getting online dating savvy is a must these days.
Whilst I’ll admit, I myself have never felt threatened or compromised on a date, and think that really there’s as much chance of being murdered by a bloke you meet in a pub than there is someone who’ve uploaded all their details to an online dating site, I am well aware that one should do ones best to keep safe on a date.
Know who you’re talking to – It’s not a Calvin Klein model
Whether it’s an app you’re on or a dating site, be aware of the amount of information on offer from the people you are chatting to, sure people knock off a few years here or there and might use a picture that’s a year out of date, but, if someone has minimal information about themselves or a Calvin Klein model as their profile picture then alarm bells should start to ring.
Online all the time?
Apart from this being one of the biggest turn offs there is in the virtual world of dating, if a bloke seems to be online an exceptional amount of time per day, then keep your wits about you. Fraudsters treat conning people online as a full-time job, ‘normal’ people log in for half an hour or so in the evening or on the bus to work, they don’t work in shifts.
Stalking (you, not him)
Hell yeah, I love it and you should to. The advantage of everyone living their lives online now is that you can find out someones inside leg measurement and mother’s maiden name before you’ve even met them. Granted this could make you look a little bit of a bunny boiler and removes the element of discovery and surprise from a date, but when the surprise is a Rohypnol and a body bag, you probably best passing on it anyway.
Dark alleys, and why to avoid them
Meet someone in a neutral place. Bear in mind that, when a man offers to cook you dinner at his place on a first date there is a chance he is either going to try to fuck you or kill you. The same goes for being picked up in his car from your address. Don’t come crying to me when you have a stalker permanently parked outside your flat with nothing but a raincoat and a hip flask to keep him company.
Of course, he could be doing the gentlemanly thing by offering you a ride, he could also be planning to drive to Yorkshire to bury you on the moors.
Spread to the word
Tell a friend (or five) about your date. Half the fun of online dating is slagging off your dates to your mates afterwards. Give them a little insight before you meet them too by letting them know who you’re meeting and where you are planning to go, or start a Whatsapp group entitled ‘Tinder wankers’ hours of fun and keeps you safer.
Don’t give him your bank details, tell him you are heir to a Caribbean Island, that you always leave your door key under the mat or that you have a short-term memory condition and never remember the night before the following morning.
DO take it easy on the booze
Ok, I’m still working on this one, but you know what I mean – the more tanked you are the easier it will be to get you in the van.
And if he suggests Tequila, run.