Are Dating Websites Safe?
Online dating safety is one of the most important concerns for singles considering finding the one on dating sites. And if you are reading this, it probably means that you are thinking about it too.
Whether you are new to dating sites and apps or already have multiple accounts, you should know that the best dating websites online take safety very seriously. That is why all our reviews include a safety section and we keep that in mind when we rank the top dating sites on the market.
What Is a Safe Dating Provider?
Online dating made meeting new people and potential partners easy and fun. Thanks to dating sites, you will be able to get in contact with countless singles in your area that you wouldn’t have met in real life as well as access exciting features and communication tools to test compatibility.
However, dating platforms also attract scammers and frauds who take advantage of online anonymity to create fake profiles and easily reach potential victims. Some of them craft elaborate lies to convince singles to lend them money, others are after personal information to commit identity theft.
Although statistics show that the majority of users lie on their dating profile to some extent — usually regarding their income or by using an outdated picture — scammers are talented liars who will create an entirely fictitious identity in order to get what they want. Besides money and data, some genuinely want a date. But nobody wants to waste time chatting with a compulsive liar.
Fortunately, safe dating services have measures in place to minimize the risk, protect data and identify potential scammers.
Safety features offered by the top dating sites include:
- ID verification. This can go from basic email verification to photo verification and sites where administrators individually check the members’ ID. In 2018, Zoosk introduced a new system focused on verifying the credentials of users claiming to be military personnel. Fraudsters often pose as soldiers as the military life offers an easy explanation for delays in meeting in person and users tend to respect and trust soldiers.
- Contact information. Sites like Match and eHarmony generate dedicated contact details (such as email addresses or phone numbers) that can be attached to existing email accounts and mobile devices. This way, members can talk and call each other straight away without having to disclose their real contact information.
- Anonymity. Once you have created an online dating profile, other members will be able to read your bio and see your photos without restrictions. After all, the point of dating sites is to allow people to get to know each other and assess compatibility before meeting in person. However, sites like SingleParentMeet understand that you may not feel ready to share this information yet, or that you want to momentarily pause your visibility without having to delete your account. The “private mode” will let you do just that — you can activate it at any time and browse the site anonymously.
- Blocking. You should always pay other members the respect and courtesy you would like to receive from a stranger, even when you are interacting online. If someone does not return the favor and behaves inappropriately, most sites will allow you to report and/or block them immediately. You should also report suspicious profiles who give you the impression to be on the site for purposes other than dating.
- Guidelines. All the best dating platforms offer comprehensive information sheets on how to date safely online. They cover anything from data protection and how to avoid dating scams to tips for a safe first date.
Top Tips to Date Safely Online
A safe dating provider will only get so far. After all, it is up to individual users to exercise their common sense and make safe online dating choices.
But if you are new to online dating sites, you may have questions on how to use online dating sites safely, avoid dating scams, plan safe dates, and have an overall positive experience. Read on to find our best advice and simple steps you can take to enjoy online dating without compromising your safety.
- Check for real profiles. Before you start chatting with someone, look for signs that you are dealing with a real profile. Professional photos and profiles with only one picture are usually red flags. Profile descriptions, photos, and writing skills also should reinforce each other. If someone says they love sports, it will probably show in their pictures, and you will know if you are reading a description written by a university graduate. In general, trust your instinct: if they sound fake, they probably are.
- Don’t share too much. Keep your personal and contact information to yourself, as well as the details of your finances. Don’t tell other users where you live exactly and don’t connect with them on other platforms straight away. Don’t move too fast: remember that even if you have been talking online for a while, they are still strangers.
- Don’t give money to anyone. This should be your golden rule. It doesn’t matter how realistic their story seems and how compelling the circumstances.
- Report and block. If something doesn’t feel right or other users behave inappropriately (for example by being offensive or asking for money), block them immediately. Reporting suspicious accounts also raise the website administrators’ attention, potentially saving other singles from falling victims of scams.
- Plan a safe first date. If you took your time getting to know someone and you realize you want to take things to the next level, planning a safe date will allow you to enjoy your first meeting and save you potential trouble. Agree to meet in a public location — possibly a place you are familiar with — and drive separately. Let your friends know where you are going and when. If you enjoy your time together, it is also a good idea to stick with these measures for a few more dates.