February is the month of love and many South Africans are firing up their smartphones, using apps like Tinder, OkCupid and DatingBuzz to find romance. But it’s also important to protect yourself from stalkers, scammers and other people who might abuse your trust when you look for an online date.
Here are a few things to keep in mind to enjoy a good time with online dating, while staying safe:
1. Interact within the app until you done a check on the potential partner. That way, they won’t be able to track you down or harass you if you decide not to date them.
2. Meet in a public place for the first date or two until you know your date a bit better. It’s wise not to agree to meet them in a secluded setting or in their home.
3. It may sound romantic to be picked up from your home to be whisked away for an evening of romance, rather drive your own car to the date or order your own Uber, than give someone you don’t yet know very well your home address.
4. Let a trusted friend know where you are going on your date with someone new. If you are feeling especially cautious, you could ask them to phone or text you an hour into the date for a quick check-in.
5. Don’t share personal information until you’ve established that they are who they say they are. This includes your address, photos of yourself (especially intimate ones), banking information, social media handles or your location