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By Summer C. | June 1, 2019

How to Protect Yourself While Using Dating Apps

Dating apps can help you find romance and true love, but they also have the potential to put you in danger. Although most dating apps have sophisticated security features, they are not foolproof. 

Some dating apps, for example, attract prostitutes and scammers, while others are filled with underage users who frequently lie about their age. There are also some dating apps which are plagued by controversies, scams and scandals. 

Most dating app developers are actively trying to combat these problems, but – as an app user – there are also certain things that you can do to protect yourself. So before you start using a dating app, be sure to implement the following tips first. 

Choose An App That Lets You Block Problematic People 

When you try a new dating app, make sure it allows you to block, filter and ignore people that you don’t like. Most apps and social media platforms already have this feature but you should still double check before you proceed. 

Also, make sure that the block or filter feature has multiple settings, so that you can specify the types of people you wish to ignore. Newer apps have more innovative techniques for dealing with disrespectful or troublesome users, and you should definitely check out what they have to offer before you start using them. 

If you are not sure about a particular app’s block or filter features, consult their FAQ section or contact the dating app’s publisher and present them with your questions. Most of them will usually respond to your queries in a few days. 

real people on dating profiles
Real people on dating profiles

Use An App That Requires People to Use Actual Photos On Their Dating Profiles 

There are certain dating apps that require people to use their actual photos on their profiles. This is done to prevent complete anonymity, and to make sure that users are honest about their looks, their age and their gender. 

Additionally, apps that require people to use real photos also offer a certain amount of protection, since they tend to drive away people are more likely to engage in reprehensible behaviors. Stalkers, for example, are not likely to use dating apps that require them to put their actual photographs since they value their anonymity. 

Of course, if you don’t want random strangers to see your photo then you can always put your account settings on private. This will limit the number of people you’ll meet on the app but you’ll also have better protection. 

Avoid Putting All Your Personal Details On Your Dating Profile 

You don’t have to put all your personal details on your dating profile. Remember, that you’re dealing with complete strangers on the internet, so it’s better that you limit the amount of information that you release to the public.  

For example, you can keep your last name, contact information, social media account handles and address private. By concealing this information, not only will you be able to protect yourself from potential harassers, you’ll also keep your personal life separate from your online persona. 

Most dating apps have no problem with secrecy and privacy, so keeping your personal details private shouldn’t be a problem. Later, when you have met people that you like and trust, you can show them your personal information with fewer worries. 

Avoid Using Dating Apps That Have Bad Reputations 

You’ll find all kinds of dating apps on the internet, but some of them have bad reputations. In fact, there are plenty of apps out there that are linked to scams, ad campaigns, marketing gimmicks and various other schemes. There are also apps that will steal your private information, and a few others that have poor privacy features. 

So before you use a dating app, be sure to look at some of its user reviews. If it has a lot of bad reviews from its users then you probably shouldn’t use it. On the other hand, if you find an app that has a solid reputation on privacy and security issues then you should give it a try. It may just be the app you need. 

Another way to find a reliable dating app is by reading app reviews. These reviews can tell you which dating apps are trustworthy and which ones are not worth your time. And if you’re looking for an app with strong security features, you may find a few recommendations by reading a few reviews. You may even find a new dating app which caters to your particular needs. 

avoid exposing personal information
Avoid exposing personal information

Avoid Handing Out Too Much Information 

When you meet someone interesting, don’t get tempted into sharing more than what you’re prepared to divulge on the internet. No matter how much you like the person on the other line, remember that you are still on a dating app and you can’t really trust anyone until you’ve interacted with them on a much deeper level. 

Clues, like your home town, your job, your politics or even your hobbies can reveal a lot about your personal life. They can even reveal certain things about your tastes and personality, and you definitely want to avoid that. 

So before you start using your dating app, write down a list of items that you should never talk about. This list will help you keep certain parts of your life private whenever you meet someone new on a dating app.  Remember, app developers and publishers will not take any responsibility for the things that you send to other users, which is why you shouldn’t divulge them in the first place. 

Reach Out to Friends 

If you know friends or acquaintances who are using the same dating app that you’re using, reach out to them and ask them to help you out. Having real-life friends on the same dating app will not only help you find that special someone you’re looking for, they may also provide you support and assistance should you find yourself in a difficult position. 

For example, if you’re being harassed by a person on the app, your friends may be able to help you drive them away. Likewise, if you’re new to a particular dating app, and you’re having trouble figuring out some of its features and settings then they may teach you what you need to know. 

Remember, “No Means No”

Many dating apps have strict “no means no” policies and you can use those policies to protect yourself from people who may threaten or stalk you. All you need to do is to explicitly say ‘No’ to all interactions that come from people you don’t like. If they persist, you can block them and if they still insist on speaking with you, you can always report them for banning. 

Avoid Sexting 

Sexting is the act of sending out nude and semi-nude pictures to people on dating apps and social media. Needless to say, sexting is always a bad idea because it releases too many ‘embarrassing’ materials on the internet. 

Yes, it’s tempting to send sexy materials on a dating app, but you should also remember that dating apps are social platforms, and like all social platforms, users share content. Even privacy and security protocols offer minimal protection from sexting-related debacles. So the best way to avoid such disasters is by simply avoiding sexting all together. 

Yes, you’ll probably meet fewer people, but you won’t have to worry about leaked nudes either. Also, avoiding sexting will help you avoid those people who are only interested in sex and one night stands. So if you’re after a serious relationship then you should definitely avoid sexting. 

Confirm the Other Person’s Age

When you meet someone young on a dating app, make sure that they are legal adults before you speak with them. Although this may seem cynical, confirming the other person’s age will prevent legal repercussions if it turns out that he or she is legally underage. 

Remember that many teens and even a few pre-teens use dating apps, and some of them are looking for older partners. The good news is that most dating apps have special rules and policies about age of consent, which means that underage users can’t lie about their age. The bad news is that they can hide their profile information, which means that you will have to put in the extra effort of asking them about their age before you can initiate any interactions. 

Be Wary of Prostitutes 

Finally, be wary of prostitutes. Many of them use dating apps, and most of them will not hesitate to take advantage of you if you provide them with sensitive information. 

Engaging with a prostitute on a dating app may lead to all kinds of troubles further down the line, including banning, stalking, online feuds and various others. Additionally, they may also provide false information about themselves, or they may try to steal your private information. So if you encounter a user who seems to speak and look like a prostitute then you should probably keep your distance.