Safety tips for using online dating apps

It’s almost Valentine’s Day! If you are one of the many people swiping their way to a date, be sure to follow these safety tips.  

Use alternate photos for your dating profile. When a dating app user uses the same photos that are posted on their social media accounts, a reverse image search can be done to find social media profiles that may include personal details such as last name, workplace, or location information. 

Avoid connecting with suspicious profiles. If a profile has a no image or a single, non-descriptive image, it may either be a fake account or an account with malicious intent. 

Do research before meeting in person. In order to legitimize the connection and avoid being catfished, or lured into a relationship by means of a fictional online persona, try to find (or ask for) social media accounts connected with that person. Having mutual friends also is a good sign that the profile is legitimate. 

Block and report suspicious activity. If another user is sending harassing messages or making you feel uncomfortable, utilize the feature to anonymously block and report the user. Additionally, if you suspect a scam, such as another user asking for money or financial assistance, be sure to promptly utilize the report feature on the app or report it to the police. DO NOT RELEASE PERSONAL INFORMATION OR PROVIDE MONEY OR GIFT CARDS. 

Do not give out personal information to someone you have not met. Personal information includes work or home addresses, passwords, personal finances, social security numbers, credit card numbers and other information that can be used to distinguish or trace an individual’s identity. 

Try meeting in a digital space first. During the pandemic, Zoom dates have become increasingly popular. A low stakes way at meeting someone where you can be sure to not come in contact with COVID-19. 

Trust your instincts. If you are uncomfortable, do not worry about appearing rude. Call 911 if you feel you are in danger.

While online dating is a fun way to connect with new people, it is important to stay safe while doing so. Follow these safety tips and you can make safe, meaningful connections online. Like any safety tips or new technology, they are not a guarantee, but they may help you feel more secure.

It is also important to remember that if you do experience concerning behavior, sexual assault or violence while dating or any other time, it is not your fault. U-M has resources and is here to help. The U-M Police Department’s Special Victims Unit (SVU) can assist with addressing any concerns you may have related to your safety, whether a crime has been committed or not. Additionally, the DPSS SVU partners with confidential and free advocacy groups, such as U-M’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center (SAPAC) and SafeHouse Center.

Contact DPSS 24/7

(734) 763-1132 or 911 in an emergency

Additional U-M Reporting Options