Ways Online Dating Can Be A Bit Dangerous

June 8, 2015  |  
11 of 15

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You’re online looking for love, but plenty of people are on there looking for something else (like your address and credit card information). It’s frustrating that you have to watch your back when you’re also trying to be emotionally open, but it’s a reality of online dating. Here are ways you might be at risk while trying your hand at online dating.

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Using Facebook photos for your profile

Maybe when setting up your profile, you decide to snag some of your best photos off of your Facebook page. But anybody can save a copy of a photo they find on your Facebook (and they don’t have to be your friend to grab one photo) and run an Internet search on that photo. From there, they can find all sorts of information.

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Video chatting

You want to make sure someone looks like his photo before meeting so you video chat. But he can see more than just you in that video—he can see college diplomas and maybe even a stack of mail. If someone captures a screenshot of your conversation and zooms in, they can snag your address off a document in your room.

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Posting street pictures

An innocent picture of you and your dog playing in your front yard shows that you love animals, but it also shows landmarks on your street that can tell people where you live.

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Your employer

Even if you leave your last name off of your profile, if someone has your first name and the name of the company you work for, they can easily find your full name with a quick online search and access personal information.

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Hiking

You want to hike for a date because it’s unique and active, and free of distractions. But distractions are also other people…who can be witnesses. You don’t fully know this person just yet, so take things slow and stay out in the open.

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Telling someone you live alone

You might tell them as a status symbol (Hey! I’m successful enough to no longer have roommates!), but this tells predators that you are always home alone and…

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Posting pictures of pricey items

Plenty of people are online looking to find a sugar mommy at the least and scam somebody at the worst. Avoid posting photos of your $80,000 car or flashy jewelry.

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Telling someone where you like to hang out

Sure, you don’t live at the bookstore you like or the dog park you frequent, but by telling someone you hang out there, they could find you there and follow you home.

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Telling someone you’re hosting a party

If someone has garnered enough information to figure out your address (from your photos, etc.) and you mention you’re throwing a party, they could show up pretending to be somebody’s plus-one and steal from you.

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Sharing an Uber home

You might think you’re being safe because your date isn’t the one dropping you off. However, f you share an Uber that he pays for to get home, remember that he sees the final drop-off address on his phone, and that’s your address.

Vacant houses in Arizona. Image: AP Photo/Matt York

Your neighborhood

You may think, “My community is huge! How could someone find me?” But didn’t you also mention your favorite coffee shop and the dog park? Those are probably close to your place. And just like that, a potential stalker’s search of you just got easier.

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Keeping it a secret

You shouldn’t be ashamed to try online dating, but if you are—get over it. You need to let people know you’re doing online dating for your own safety. If, God forbid, something happens, you want people to know where you are headed ahead of time.

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Driving to your destination

Have a friend drop you off or take a cab. Why? Your date may want to walk you to your car, and your car has your license plate number and your license plate number is the door to lots of other information. Like your address in some cases.

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Adding him on social media

You think after one date goes well that it’s safe to add him on social media, but that might be exactly what he’s hoping for. Your Facebook and Instagram are full of personal information about you. Plus, it’s silly to add someone before you know where things are headed. If you’re not into them, it just becomes awkward.

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Telling someone you’re on a trip

You might keep up your online dating chats even when you’re on a vacation. But try not to inform the person you’re getting to know that you’re on vacation though. They will know your home is unattended to and free to raid.

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