Meeting your hot date online seems to be all the rage. Swipe right, swipe left – it is easy, convenient and fun. It can, however, end in drama rather than in love if you are not careful.

International anti-virus firm, Kaspersky, has the facts:

  • 1 in 3 people are dating online.
  • About 57% of online daters have admitted to being dishonest.
  • Roughly 55% have experienced some sort of threat or problem while dating online.

Stay safe, know the warning signs and be extra vigilant with these tips from 1st for Women Insurance:

  • Check if the app/site is legit. Do an online search to find out about other users’ experiences with the site and make sure it is a reputable dating portal.
  • Swipe left and move on if the potential love interest asks for money, or is inconsistent with who they claim to be.
  • Keep your clothes on. Be aware of sextortion scams where steamy pictures or videos received are then used for blackmail.
  • Keep your location private. Check the geographical settings on the site. It is likely that other people will be able to see your general location, but your specific address should not be visible. Your location settings on social media (revealing where you check in) should also be restricted.
  • Research your crush on platforms such as LinkedIn, which will provide you with information beyond what you will see on Facebook or Instagram.
  • Give them a ring and chat on the phone before you agree to meet in real life. Speaking to someone gives you a better idea of who they are.
  • Always take your own car. Do not let your date pick you up from your home or your workplace. You don’t want someone who is essentially a stranger to know where you live. Also, you don’t want them to be driving, putting them in complete control over where they take you.
  • Don’t go private. Meet in a busy, public setting. This ensures there are other people around should you feel uncomfortable or require help.
  • Tell a friend or family member where you’re meeting and give them an estimated time you should be back. This way somebody will be aware if plans have gone awry.
  • Stay connected. Provide a friend with your date’s telephone number and arrange to send a message at a specific time to let them know that everything is going well.
  • Go easy on the booze. Tempting as it may be to calm those first date nerves, you need to keep a clear head. Also keep a close eye on your drink at all times to make sure  nothing suspicious is added to it.
  • Don’t overshare. Your place of work, address and regular hangouts are details to be shared once you know each other a little better.
  • Be prepared and carry pepper spray – and know how to use it. This could keep you safe in the worst- case scenario.
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