I’m sure that if you have gone to this page, you are wondering what the dangers of online dating are?
Well, in short, there are many potential dangers in the current online dating environment that you need to know.
In this article, I will be pointing out what those dangers are, and what the most effective way of avoiding them is.
Introduction to the dating landscape
Online dating is getting more and more popular every single year. I remember ten years ago when hardly any people were using dating sites or applications. Now it seems like everybody and their mother is on Tinder, eHarmony or Match.com!
With the exploding popularity of online dating websites brings lots of people that are looking to take advantage of others.
Let’s see what these specific dangers are and how vulnerable we are to them.
What can be done by dating website companies to prevent these online dating dangers going forward? More importantly, what can we do as consumers to protect ourselves from potential threats of online dating.
By the end, you will have an invisible force field around you while you are browsing through your favorite online dating site.
What are all the Dangers of Online Dating?
This section will be broken down into two primary parts. The first section is about the severe risks of online dating.
The second section will talk about online dating dangers that are not as severe such as people lying or being deceiving with their information on their profiles.
People are Online to Scam
About one in 10 people are using online dating websites to try to scam other people. These include tons of different fake profiles that are extremely easy to create especially on free dating websites such as Tinder, Okcupid, and POF.
There are different levels to people are scamming others online. One of the most common ways is trying to get money from the other person. They do this by creating a relationship and building trust. After a period a significant “accident” happens, and they need to ask for money.
This sadly happens more often than one would think. And unfortunately, a lot of people fall for this type of scam because they have built an “emotional relationship” with the scammer.
One way to avoid online scammers is to stick to paid dating websites such as eHarmony or match.com. Online scammers are much less likely to pay for a service as they are people that don’t like to pay for anything.
In 2011 there was a reported $50 million lost by victims of online scams. As online dating gets more and more popular, these dating websites will be hubs for people trying to scam users out of money.
Delinquents Using Dating Websites
The second grave danger that online dating presents is the fact that there is minimal background checking involved when signing up for dating websites. This is especially true for free dating websites.
According to a report from Phactual, 10% of online dating users are sex offenders. Even more surprising is that approximately 25% of rapists are currently finding their victims on online dating websites.
This makes it extremely important to check public record sex offender websites for the person you have matched with.
Every year there are approximately 100 murders and 16,000 abductions by online predators. This is not exclusive to online dating websites that due to the nature that it is ever growing and expanding, it makes it a perfect spot for these predators.
People Lie on their Dating Profiles
Lying on one’s online dating profile is extremely common. These lies could be as innocent as adding one or 2 inches to their height. On the other hand, they could be as dangerous as lying about their relationship status.
There are thousands upon thousands of married men and women that are using online dating websites should cheat on their significant others.
In fact, there is a dating website that is designed for people trying to cheat on their significant others. Is called Ashley Madison.
Approximately 53% of dating profiles are exaggerated in one form or another. Among all of these traits that are lied about, height, age, income, and weight are some of the more popular characteristics that people don’t tell the truth about.
In short (or tall), people are trying to make themselves more attractive than they are when using online dating profiles.
I recommend obtaining their social media profiles before meeting up with them so that you can get a better assessment of who they are and whether or not they are lying on their profiles.
If they are not willing to give up their social media profile, ding ding ding, this is a huge red flag!
Dating services are not used for how they are intended
A lot of dating websites are simply not used for their intended purpose. This is especially true for dating websites that are free to use and have a lot of users on them.
A lot of people use these dating websites to chat with other people as a form of boosting their ego and making them feel “popular.”
Another way that people use online dating websites is to increase the number of social media followers that they have on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. This is another way of social proof and massaging the ego.
When I use a dating website, it is because I want to meet interesting people to go out with, date and possibly start of a relationship. It is a complete waste of time if I’m talking to somebody that is not interested in the same thing. Sadly, there are tons of people that will lie about their intentions on the dating website.
This is why I only stick to paid dating websites instead of free dating websites. The people that are looking for a popularity contest are usually hanging out on those free sites. People that pay for a dating service, on the other hand, are much more likely to be people that are willing to build a real connection.
What dating services can do to help reduce dangers
So now that we know of all the risks of online dating that are lurking out there, what can dating websites do to protect their users?
The first step that they can take is making the sign-up process more difficult. As it currently stands, all you need is an e-mail address to be able to sign up for a lot of these free dating websites.
It is incredibly easy to create a new e-mail address. There is no limit to how many e-mail addresses one can have. Thus, there is no limit to the number of fake profiles one can make to take advantage of others.
Facebook.com has taken fake profiles very seriously, and sometimes they require an official form of ID to verify you are who you are. This is the step that dating websites need to take in the future.
Not only will it prevent fake profiles and fewer scammers, who also show the real identity of delinquents and make them think twice about signing up for a dating website.
The next thing that dating website can do is to implement some background check service into their dating website. This will help people see the history of their potential match on a dating website. This will be another deterrent towards delinquents signing up.
What we can do to help avoid dangers
Although some dating websites have implemented some security measures, we also have a huge responsibility to watch for our well-being.
We need to be conscious as we are cruising through dating websites and talking to matches. Here are some tips I have to stay safe and avoid any type of danger that you might run into on the dating website.
Talk to the person and get their social media information
This is the first step that needs to be done after you have been talking to someone from a dating website for a while.
Getting their social media information validates them as a real person. Make sure they have plenty of friends, comments, and publications. You need to beware because people can also make fake Facebook and Instagram profiles as well.
Make sure that they have had their social media profile for a while and you should check to see if you have any friends in common. If you do, you can reach out to that friend and have them tell you what they know of the person.
Talking to a person over online chat is much different than talking to them on the phone or even better, over video chat. Speaking to a person in this manner will give you a much better feel for the person, their intentions and whether or not they are a good person or not.
Make sure to do both of these checks before ever meeting up with anyone in real life. Get their social media and at least talk to them on the phone or video chat a few times before agreeing to a date.
Never Pay Money to Anyone!
Under no circumstance should you give anybody money before getting to know them in real life. I don’t care how extreme the situation is or how convincing the story was, never pull out your banking information for people online!
Third-party background checking services
Although as the current situation stands, dating services do not offer free background checking services for their members.
This is why we need to take the step into our own hands. There are plenty of background checking services out there. A lot of this information is public domain and available for free to the public.
To make things a little easier, some cheap services can be used to run background checks on people. Instant Checkmate is one of the services that can be used.
But it is important to remember that you might not always be able to trust the name that is used on a dating profile.
This is why it is extra important that you get their social media information. More importantly, you should get their Facebook profile. After checking that their Facebook profile is legit, you can then use their real name on their Facebook profile to do the background check.
Check the Sex Offender Registry
When it comes to sex offenders, there is a public directory so that you can look up these people. If you are wondering if your online dating partner is a registered sex offender you can check the site here.
Once again, you need to make sure you are entering an actual person’s name. This is another reason why getting their social media is very important.
Report or Block Shady Members
If you are using a dating website and run across a Shady member or a profile that you suspect is false, report it right away.
The only way that these dating services and their spam teams can help eliminate evil members is from user data. Every single dating website has a function to report suspicious or fake profiles.
Even if you have a hunch that something is off about somebody’s profile, I recommend reporting as spam.
Only use Trusted Dating Websites
The best way to avoid all of these online dating dangers is to use trusted sites.
As I have mentioned throughout this article, a lot of these dangers are mostly present on free dating websites. These predators use free dating websites since they can create as many profiles as they want, they have substantial user bases and is entirely free for them.
Here are the websites that I trust the most and where I have never encountered far fewer suspicious people.
EHarmony is a website that uses a sophisticated algorithm of personality traits to help you find a compatible match. Many success stories come from eHarmony, and most users are extremely satisfied with the service.
On top of this, I have never personally experienced any shady people that use eHarmony. Check out my full review of it here and check out the prices of eHarmony here. You can get a membership for as low as $10 a month.
This is another trusted paid dating website that is fantastic and gets excellent reviews. They have a huge user base at match.com, which makes it one of the more premium dating websites out there.
They also have a ton of features. Overall it is much different than eHarmony because you need to be actively searching for matches. eHarmony, on the other hand, sends your matches straight your inbox.
Conclusions on the dangers of online dating
Will there you have it ladies and gentlemen, those of the majority of the risks that can be found on online dating websites.
There is a lot that needs to change to reduce the number of malicious users on dating services.
There aren’t tons of things that dating services need to be proactive about to protect their members. On the other hand, we need to use our common sense and be able to detect fraud when it is happening.
Use the tips that I listed above to stay safe while dating online. I would like to hear about all of your experiences with online dating. Do you guys feel it is safe or not? Leave a comment down below so we can get this discussion started!