6 Tips To Avoid a Catastrophic Online Date
Hidden behind a computer screen, it’s not too hard for a single man to, well, slightly enhance his date-worthy credentials. Misrepresentation on the Internet is generally harmless, says Christian Rudder, one of the OkCupid founders. But creating a false impression in the online dating arena is misleading and will typically backfire — once you actually meet in person, because reality doesn’t lie.
Beware. The top three lies single men make in online dating: “I’m 6 feet tall,” “I make 100,000 per year” and the infamous, “Here’s a recent picture,” according to OkCupid data analysis by OkTrends. While these hopeful lies may result in more frustration and disappointment during your online search for a perfect match, other perilous deceits and fabrications can be seriously dangerous. Never take your safety for granted when meeting a stranger, and use these safety steps while preparing for your first in-person encounter with Mr. 6 Feet Tall.
Basic Background Check
Basic background checks are available online, and while online checks won’t be the most comprehensive, you’ll increase your chances of finding out if the man you just met has committed a felony. For example, manslaughter is a major red flag. Check out DirtSearch, a free online public and criminal records search engine that can help you avoid dating a convicted criminal. All you need is the person’s first name, last name and state of residency.
As an online dater, you can never be too cautious. Sometimes concerns over height and income prior to a blind date can trump concerns over identity theft and fraud. Don’t forget about your overall wellbeing before meeting a stranger. To ensure financial safety, protect yourself with a LifeLock identity theft protection plan that will safeguard you from any charming thieves you might encounter while dating online. Also make sure to check out Urbanette’s tips on avoiding credit fraud. You never know if the man who claims to be a hopeless romantic is really just trying to steal your credit card info, and not your heart.
Every woman needs to establish a safety plan in case the date goes terribly awry, especially if alcohol is involved. The organization Love is Respect created an interactive safety planning tool that can help you come up with a comprehensive escape plan for various dating and relationship situations. The Anti-Violence Project also offers online dating safety tips, including telling at least one person about your plans, texting your whereabouts, meeting in public and knowing your limits.
Your Best Weapon
Your smartphone may have landed your date, but it can also protect you during your date. The free safety app, EmergenSee, serves as a personal portable security system that you carry right in your purse. Once you download the app, you’ll add three personal contacts. If you alert one of your contacts, the app will send them a Google map with a beacon identifying and tracking your location. The Virtual Escort feature starts a timer and signals a contact if the timer goes off before you reach your destination. You can also send an alert if you sense danger, and select stealth mode to turn your screen black while sending contacts real-time video, audio or GPS data.
Stun Gun Disguise
No matter how many dates you go on, take each meeting seriously and prepare for the worst (and we’re not talking about a surprise height of 5’5″). Protect yourself with a disguised stun gun by Women on Guard. A stun gun contains 3.5 million volts and looks just like a travel perfume. It comes with an LED flashlight, lifetime warranty and a safety cap. Plus, it only measures five inches tall and one inch around, making it easy to carry and conceal in a clutch or pocket.
A safety whistle is a non-violent way to remove yourself from a dangerous first date. A Fox 40 Safety Whistle differs from other traditional whistles because it’s pealess and delivers an ear piercing tone that is impossible to ignore. Attach the whistle to your keys or the inside of your purse for a quick and easy way to deter your date, suddenly turned assailant. Alternatively, you can download the Safety Whistle app for Android as a digital version of this safety gadget.