Many of us are using online dating sites as a way to meet people and form relationships.
Most users of these sites are sincere and honest in the information they provide and in their reasons for joining. However, there are exceptions, and you need to be aware of how to keep yourself, your bank account and savings, protected while meeting people online.
Whilst online dating, remember:
- Choose a username that doesn’t let everyone know who you are and back it up with a strong password.
- Keep your contact details private. Never make available your email address, where you live, or your phone number.
- Take things slowly and share more information when you feel comfortable doing so. It is impossible to get back information once you have given it away.
- If it doesn’t feel right or someone is pressuring you into providing your personal or financial information Stop communicating, contact the dating provider immediately to not only protect yourself but other users too.
Password & Security
- Make sure you log out properly when accessing your account from a public or shared computer so that others can't view or record your password or personal information.
- Be wary of opening email attachments from someone you have only just met
- Ensure that you keep your internet security software up to date.
Thinking about meeting up
- When you feel ready to meet, still remember that you’re meeting a stranger.
- Do your research – search your date online, make sure they are who they say they are and you are happy with what they have told you
- Don’t divulge your address or other key personal information. Don’t go into a car alone with this stranger. Always remain in public for the first few dates.
- Let a friend know who you’re meeting, where you’re meeting, how to reach you and when you’ll be home. Arrange for that friend to call you during the date letting your date that someone knows where you are.
- Not going well? Make your excuses and leave.
Reporting call to action
If you’re raped or sexually assaulted on your date, help is available.
- No matter what the circumstances, sexual activity against your will is a crime. Police and charities are here to help and support you. To report a rape of sexual offence ring 101.Remember always ring 999 in an emergency.
- If you feel unable to report it to the police straight away, tell someone you trust. You can speak to your GP or if you are at college or university, welfare staff and the Student Union will be able to offer help and advice.
- If you have been a victim of crime, whether recently or in the past, Lancashire Victim Services are here to help. They provide emotional support, information and practical help, regardless of whether you have reported the crime to the police. All their services are free and confidential - call 0300 323 0085.
- You can also self-refer to the SAFE Centre, a specialist unit at Preston Royal Hospital. They offer counselling, support and help with forensic examinations. They can be contacted on 01772 523 344.