New Year, New Romance – Top tips on how to date safely online

Cumbria’s Deputy Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (DPFCC), Mike Johnson, and Get Safe Online is raising awareness around the risks of online dating and providing advice on how to stay safe on dating sites.

 

Online dating is by far the most popular way to meet someone, and January is the busiest time of year for both new and experienced daters. However, this means that it’s also a very busy time for cybercriminals, posing as suitors to steal your money and/or identity.

 

DPFCC Mike Johnson, said: “Dating sites and apps have made it easier to meet people who share the same interests as you and are also looking for a new romance.

“However, cyber criminals can and do take advantage of this and will use fake profiles to scam innocent people out of money.

“It’s incredibly important that we can recognise the signs of a scam which is why we commission Get Safe Online in Cumbria to help residents understand the dangers and can provide useful information to keep safe.

“I would encourage everyone that uses a dating site to read up on the advice provided by Get Safe Online and make sure that the person they are talking to online is who they say they are and is there with the right intention.

“Together we can all keep ourselves safer online.”

Tony Neate, CEO at Get Safe Online adds, “Online dating is a great way to meet new people – it’s convenient, provides lots of choice and is fun – but it’s always sensible to be cautious of potential threats. If you are online dating in Cumbria this new year, stay safe and read our top ten tips to avoid romance scams. And if you want to learn more about staying safe online, then take a browse on our website at getsafeonline.org”

 

Get Safe Online’s top ten tips for dating online:

  • Choose a reputable dating site or app and don’t be tempted away from its messaging service until you’re confident your date is who they say they are, and you completely trust them.
  • Minimise the chance of your account being hacked, by using secure and unique login details on dating sites and apps.
  • Check out the person, not the profile. Ask plenty of questions, think and act rationally and don’t rush into anything. This might help you avoid issues such as fraud, extortion or being used for sex.
  • Search matches by name, profile pictures or any repeatedly used phrases and the term ‘dating scam’, ‘romance scam’ or ‘catfish’. Do a reverse image search to check if the profile photo is genuine or of somebody else. Start by searching ‘Search with an image on Google’.
  • Be wary of anyone who seems over keen or is rushing you, as this may be a sign that they have other motives.
  • If somebody you’ve met online asks you to send money, bank details or passwords, don’t do it, whatever their hard luck story or other reason they give for needing it.
  • Revealing personal details such as full name, date of birth, home address or names, details and locations of family members could lead to fraud, identity theft or even personal harm.
  • Sending intimate images or videos of yourself to someone you’ve met online definitely isn’t recommended. It could result in extortion or reputational damage, and you can never be sure who will get to view the content. Also remember that some relationships don’t last forever.
  • End conversations with and block anyone who tells you not to mention them to your friends and family. They may be trying to isolate or coerce you.
  • Tell a friend or family member where you’re going before hooking up with an online date in person for the first time. Arrange your own transport to and from the date, meet in a busy place, keep your phone on and arrange for someone to call you to give you an opportunity to make your excuses and leave early.

 


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