• Hilary P.

Online Dating? Don’t Make This Mistake

Have you ever met someone and thought you had a great read on them, then come to find out they were completely different than you had thought? Unfortunately, this happens all the time in the dating world. You think you’ve found the perfect match, you exchange numbers, schedule a date, and the next thing you know you’re texting your BFF “SOS!”

Matching with someone you don’t click with is just one of many hurdles you have to overcome before finding “the one.” As is with anything on the internet, scammers have found their way onto dating apps, and they know what they’re doing. According to the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Database, people have reported losing more money on romance scams than on any other type of fraud over the past three years. In 2020 alone, romance scams stole over $300M!

One Google search of your phone number and first name can yield everything someone with ill intentions would need, including your address! Think of your phone number as “pandora’s box”; once it’s been opened (ie. obtained and Google searched), there is a never-ending stream of information attached to it. Even if you’re just dealing with someone who’s a little *too* into you, details about your likes & dislikes can easily be traced from your phone number.

Let’s face it, dating in the digital age comes with its own challenges. Dodging bad apples, potential stalkers, and scammers just adds to the stress of searching for your future partner. Of course, online dating isn’t going away anytime soon and without stricter privacy laws, access to your personal information is pretty easy to obtain.

But, fear not! There is a simple solution to some of these challenges, and it’s as simple as using a secondary phone number to communicate until you feel safe sharing your personal number (and all of the information that goes with it). By using a secondary number to call and text from, you remain in control of who has access to your personal information. Using an app like SpoofCard gives you the ability to call and text from a second number, whether you’re using your personal cell or even your computer! You’ll be able to communicate safely and keep your personal information private until you’re ready to share.

Other ways to stay safe include never giving out any personal information like where you work or what gym you go to. Also, do not discuss your financial situation, and you should tread very carefully if they choose to discuss theirs. Be wary of anyone who is “love-bombing” you early on. Frequent, over-the-top grand gestures of affection are red flags.

We all want to find that special someone, and they are out there, but in the digital age of online dating, safety is still a large issue. Protect yourself by using a secondary phone number to communicate, always follow your gut-instinct, and use your best judgment. By utilizing these tips, you’ll weed out the ones that just want to waste your time, and hopefully be on your way to finding the one you’ve been waiting for all along.

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