Everyone wants their own moment to say, ‘Reader, I married him’. Increasingly, people are turning online to find their true love – or at least their next love. There’s no doubt happiness is out there, with over 20% of millennials having found their partner online.
As we progressively live our lives in the digital world, criminals are also moving their operations online. Whilst we might think the charming stranger that ticks all our boxes is our soul mate, we should keep our wits about us.
It’s not just dating in the real world that can be a minefield, you’ve now got to watch for signs of digital scams too. But don’t worry, here are our top tips to keep you safe online.
The signs you need to spot
If you’ve swiped right on a handsome stranger, or perhaps you’ve matched with your dream woman, you might think you’ve hit the jackpot. But, if you notice any of these characteristics, you should proceed with caution.
- They want your phone number after only a few messages.
- They avoid video calls or meeting up in real life.
- They avoid answering personal questions about themselves, or they provide details that just seem wrong.
- Their pictures seem too perfect, like they’re professionally shot, or they avoid showing their face altogether.
- They mention they have financial problems.
- They try and establish a bond too soon.
- Something just doesn’t feel ‘right’.
How to protect yourself
There’s no denying dating websites have their place in helping people find love. In a post-pandemic world where active daters spend more time online, dating apps and websites are more important than ever.
You can protect yourself with these simple steps. Don’t worry, they won’t put off any real potential suitors.
Don’t share details
Keep your personal details private until you feel comfortable. This includes giving out your date of birth, where you live, contact details, and even your dog’s name.
Use a VPN
Most people use a smartphone app for swiping on the go. Installing a VPN for Android or iPhone can help hide your IP address and your location.
Don’t send or receive money
No one wants to fall victim to another Tinder Swindler, but it’s easy to get swept up in the moment. No matter how convincing they sound, never send or receive money from someone you’ve never met in real life.
Trust your gut
Listen to your instincts. If you think it’s too good to be true, or there are holes in their story, chances are your gut is right. You don’t have to confront them, but you should be wary.
Taking further action
If you think you’re talking to a scam or become a victim of fraud, you should report them immediately.
Contact Action Fraud for further help and advice.