Whether you’re in your 20’s, your 50’s or even older, there are dating websites and apps that cater to you and your intended age groups. In fact, online dating is increasing at record levels, because people simply don’t have the time or the desire to hit the traditional “single’s bars” or other venues where meeting others took place. And with the current pandemic, it’s even more important to find people online than going to bars.

People are more accepting of online dating than they used to be. In fact, in a recent PEW research poll, more than 60% of people approve of online dating. But with its increase in popularity, online dating has a dark side as well. There are a lot of scammers who can’t wait to take you in as their intended dating partner, only to scam you in one way or another and separate you from your money. With proper knowledge and common sense, and some due diligence, you can stay safe when going to online dating sites.

 

Know Who You’re Talking to

 

Here’s where you start separating the scammers from the legit folks. By knowing who you’re communicating with, you can eliminate most of the nonsense that goes on with online dating. Is “John Smith” really who he says he is? One way to find out is with Nuwber, an online tool that will provide you with a person’s true identity using their name, phone number or email address. If they come up as a different person, delete them and report them to the dating website. Nuwber will also provide you with some background information such as social media profiles, police records and more.

 

Using Nuwber will help protect you from scammers and boost your privacy. But you also need to ensure that your online security is protected as well. This will prevent hacking and protect you from potential data breaches.

 

Don’t Use Public WiFi

 

If you’re sitting at a coffee shop, airport lounge or other public place, don’t use any WiFi network that doesn’t require a password. That means anyone can monitor your online activity and conversations.

 

Instead, Use a VPN

 

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) will eliminate snoopers and hackers because they hide your IP address and location. It may cost a few bucks, but a VPN is worth every penny to keep your conversations private and keep hackers and scammers out of your computer. Some good ones to consider include CyberGhost, Private Internet Access, NordVPN and many others.

 

Use A Google Voice Phone Number

 

Before chatting with anyone on a phone, get yourself a Google Voice Phone number. You can use it to sign up for a dating app and any phone chats with people you meet. It will hide your personal phone number, and it’s easy to forward a Google Phone number to your personal phone. Plus, it helps to keep your data more secure.

 

Don’t Repost Social Media Photos

 

Forget your Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook photos. If you’re posting a photo online, get a unique photo of yourself to use on dating apps. People tend to use reverse online image searches like TinEye or Google Images to find your social media profile. So never use ones you’ve previously posted. Have some friends take some new, fun photos of you to use.

 

Keep Some Private Information Private

 

There’s a lot of information you don’t want to share on dating sites. Forget your college degrees or the years that you earned them. Same with your street name and number, favorite coffee shop you like to visit, social media account handles and other personal details of your life. You might consider using a masking app to hide your real phone number for added privacy. Some of the top ones are Burner, Hushed and 2ndLine.

 

Trust Your Gut

 

This isn’t your first rodeo. You’ve probably been dating a while, so you know when someone is coming across in an “odd way.” You can also spot someone who’s a catfish or other type of scammer. They’re probably married with kids but try to come across as the best person to date in the world. Trust your gut – if something doesn’t feel right, bolt! Just delete any texts or other correspondence and report them to the dating app or website. You’ll rest a lot easier knowing that you followed your instincts and didn’t get involved with someone you shouldn’t have. Stay safe!