With the onslaught of COVID-19, many people had to put on hold their plans for meeting someone special. This is where Tinder had scored. As the pandemic-led disruptions emerged, the popular dating app marked a record 3 billion swipes in a single day, the highest it has ever seen.
Clearly, more singles are turning to online dating tools in search of love as they remain housebound with stay-at-home orders. Tinder’s fast-growing user base of more than 6.2 million subscribers is testimony to this. It’s certainly a convenient way to meet people, and new features like video dating have helped take things up a notch.
But, not all is so rosy in the world of online dating. Similar to the real world, virtual dating has its fair share of dangers. From financial scams to stalkings and extortions, countless threats are lurking around in online dating apps. So, if you’re planning on finding your life partner with a Tinder swipe, taking measures to protect yourself is an absolute must.
1. Stop oversharing
Separating genuine daters from the shady ones is not an easy task. So, keep your guards up until you confirm the authenticity of the person you’re dealing with. Oversharing with a total stranger could expose you to plenty of dangers, whether you’re sharing a family photo or sending a ‘friend’ request on your social networks.
Giving them access to your personal details like your home address, workplace, and financial details could easily expose you to criminals and sexual predators. So, only share the bare minimum. Focus on general information like hobbies and interests instead. And avoid commenting on sensitive topics such as politics and religion.
2. Dig a bit deeper
Technology has made it easier for criminals to hide behind a Tinder profile. For them, creating a fake persona doesn’t take much effort. Sometimes, they may even use stolen identities. This makes it important to research your potential suitor before you embark on a relationship.
So, run a background search on Nuwber and see what turns up. And if you have their contact number, you can even opt for a reverse search. It’ll help you compare the information retrieved from the background check with what you uncover from the reverse search.
And remember, while you’re looking up your potential date, they’re likely researching you as well. So, run a quick search of your name on Google and Nuwber and check what they pull out. If you don’t like what you see, minimize the information you’ve disclosed online. Switch your social media accounts to private mode and delete personal information from websites where possible. Better still, avoid disclosing your full name and stick to a nickname instead. It could prevent them from running a background search altogether.
3. Watch out for red flags
It’s easy to get smitten by the charm and good looks of a stranger. And when that happens, you could dismiss glaring red flags.
The fact is, criminals and predators often leave trails of warning signs. And you might identify them if you keep a close eye on their behavior. So, watch out for the telltale signs. Do they ask a lot of personal questions? Are they in a hurry to meet up? Does their profile look too good to be true? Do they seem reluctant to talk about themselves? Are they purposely averting certain questions? Have they shared contradicting information? Does the profile image look overly edited? Have they made any unusual requests like asking for money for a family emergency? Do they come across as offensive or violent?
All these should raise a red flag. And when they do, it’s time to put an end to the conversation. And if you notice anything unusual or suspicious, don’t hesitate to notify Tinder.
4. Take things slow
When you meet someone you like on Tinder, spend enough time to get to know them better. Virtual dating is the same as real-world dating; you just can’t rush into a relationship. It’s important to get to know each other before deciding to take things forward. It’ll give you a chance to understand how well you’re compatible.
Don’t be pressured into meeting up in person. Use Tinder’s messaging features before you progress on to exchanging contact details. Tinder even offers video dating features, so you don’t need to share your personal phone number. You can also opt for a burner phone until you’re comfortable enough about their authenticity.
If you feel that they’re in a hurry to meet up, explain that you’d prefer to take things slow. And if they don’t seem to respect your wishes, don’t be afraid to move on.
5. Plan for a safe date
When you finally feel ready to meet in person, it’s time to plan for a safe first date. Don’t let the excitement of the occasion distract you from ensuring your safety.
Keep your family or a close friend informed. Share details of who, when, and where you’re meeting. Your loved ones must be aware of your whereabouts in case of an emergency. Plan to meet in a public place. Choose a table in an area where you’re exposed to plenty of people. Arrange for separate transport and avoid sharing a cab. For the first date, choose lunch or a coffee instead of dinner or drinks. And don’t forget to respect the pandemic healthcare guidelines—wear a mask and maintain social distance.
Of course, getting some help from technology to help your love quest comes with distinct advantages. Algorithms can certainly increase your chances of finding a match. This could be encouraging when all other hopes of meeting someone special in-person may seem bleak. But online dating could also expose you to countless dangers when you least expect them. So, practicing caution and taking proactive steps to protect yourself is essential to make the best out of your online dating experience.