The tales of the Tinder Swindler has taken Netflix by storm, being one of the most talked-about series of 2022 so far. Whilst the documentary makes for excellent viewing, you can be certain that no one wants the experience of being tinder swindled when dating online. But with so many catfishes, f**k boys and fakes, it can be hard to tell who has your best interests at heart and who has ulterior motives (we’re looking at you, Simon Leviev). That’s why we have compiled some tips for staying safe on dating apps so you can worry less about being Tinder Swindled and more about having fun!
Be careful what information you share-especially finances!
Okay, so if you’ve watched the show, this one probably goes without saying! But just in case you have been living under a rock and haven’t seen the Tinder Swindler yet, never ever send money or give out your personal information to someone you have just met online. Even if you have been talking to that person a while- even if you feel like you know them well! If someone is asking you for money, that is a major red flag that the person you’re speaking with isn’t who you hope they are. Screenshot the message, report the profile, and get in touch with the support team of whatever app you’re using. This may sound excessive, but you could be protecting yourself or perhaps someone more vulnerable from being defrauded by raising the alarm.
Check their account is verified
A good sign that the person you’re talking to is a real person is if their account has been verified. Whilst that blue tick doesn’t tell you much about their intentions, at least you know that you’re talking to a real person rather than a robot. However, a blue tick doesn’t put you completely in the clear. Verification might keep bots at bay, but unfortunately, it can be easy for catfishes to swindle A.I. verification systems on dating apps. This means that a person still might not look like the pictures in their profile, even with that blue tick. Yikes!
See if they’ll video chat first
Video chatting before meeting in person is a game-changer in online dating. Yes, it can be nerve-wracking to put yourself out there when suggesting a video chat. But it can be a great way to ease nerves if you’re anxious about being tinder swindled. Plus, with apps like Bumble and Tinder adding video chat features, it has never been easier (and let’s be honest, less awkward) to suggest a video chat to get to know someone.
Not only is video chatting a good idea for staying safe on dating apps, but it gives you an opportunity to suss out your potential date’s energy. This way, you’ll have a better idea if you’re a match IRL. In fact, the likes of dating coach Matthew Hussey swears by video chatting or at least talking on the phone with online matches before you go for that cocktail. You’ll be able to gauge whether someone is actually interested in meeting you and moving things forward, or if they’re just looking for some attention while they’re sat in pyjamas eating ice cream. Plus, in a sea of matches, you’ll make yourself stand out- wins all around.
Meet somewhere you’re familiar with
So, you’ve checked the account is verified. You’ve video chatted with your match. Now you’re meeting for a date in person. What next? First off, you’re going to want to make sure that you meet in a public place that you know. This is a good idea regardless of your reasons for using a dating app.
It’s easy if you’re nervous on a date to forget the safety basics. Remember: Always tell a friend or family member where you’re meeting beforehand. Always make sure that your drink is never left unattended. Always have an exit plan in case they’re a weirdo.
If you ever think that something has been put in your drink, alert a member of staff straight away. Most bars have an ‘Ask for Angela’ code to know if someone is in trouble and needs to discreetly get away from a bad situation. Then call an ambulance if you feel unwell. More support for if you have been a victim of spiking can be found here.
Watch out for love bombing
This is an important one. Being aware of love bombers is key to staying safe on dating apps (and in real life). In case you haven’t come across the term before, ‘love bombing’ is when someone overwhelms you with loving words, grand gestures, declarations of love and gifts early on as a way to coerce and manipulate you. A love bomber isn’t just someone who has gotten ahead of themselves in the moment; they use deliberate and calculated techniques to win you over faster so they can meet an underlying goal of theirs. In fact, love bombing is one of the most powerful weapons in an emotional abuser’s toolkit to hook you on the relationship. So, if you see this red flag, make sure you block and run a mile.
Listen to your gut (and the red flags)
Our final tip for staying safe on dating apps is listening to your gut and honouring red flags. It can be tempting if you start to catch feelings to ignore red flags if they start popping up. But you could be saving yourself some serious heartache by following your intuition if there are too many warning signs. If your gut feels off, trust your body is trying to tell you something important and exit the situation. There are plenty of fish in the sea! You don’t need to be afraid of throwing one or two back in the water if something doesn’t feel right.
On dating apps, there can be a lot of pressure to present the best version of yourself. Unfortunately, that means people often put up with poor behaviour in efforts to be polite or feel liked. Consider this your permission to make friends with the block button.
There’s no doubt that navigating the world of online dating can be tricky. But hopefully, this guide on how to stay safe on dating apps will help you swerve those swindlers for good! And if you’re feeling bored of dating apps? You could always use a billboard ad, like this guy here.