Staying safe when dating
At eHarmony our mission is to create more everlasting love in the world, and as part of this one of our key priorities is keeping our members safe on their journey
eHarmony works hard to deliver you the best matches possible however as with anyone you meet whether that is online or offline it is important to use your judgment and instincts to protect yourself from someone you are just getting to know.
To help we’ve pulled together all of our safety dating advice from the past years into one place, just for you.
Trust your judgement
You cannot put a value on intuition and usually when something doesn’t feel right it usually isn’t. Assessing a match’s truthfulness and honesty is ultimately your responsibility. Don’t ignore any facts that seem inconsistent or “off.” Trust your instincts and remember that you have control over the situation.
We have put together some red flags when getting to know a match, more can be found here
- Immediate requests to talk or chat on an outside email or messaging service
- Asks for money, goods or any similar type of assistance, especially if you have never met in person
- Wants the relationship to progress faster than you are comfortable going
- Reports a sudden personal crisis and pressures you to provide financial assistance. Be especially wary if the person’s demands become increasingly aggressive
- Asks inappropriate questions – dating online is a fun experience and you should always feel comfortable
Always look for the ODA mark
When joining a dating website always look for the ODA mark. The Online Dating Association is a British trade body, that sets, regulates and enforces trust and safety standards in the online dating industry. Members of the ODA agree to a Code of Conduct that covers how we all should protect users, their data and their privacy. When you see the ODA mark on a dating website, you know they adhere to that code. We are proud to be a founding member of the ODA as we believe our customers’ safety comes first.
Never send someone money
These all sound so obvious when you’re reading them, however we all make mistakes and we all know how easy it is to get caught up in the moment. Especially if you have been talking with someone for a long time and built what feels like a connection, after all – any good person would want to help a friend in need. However it is vital that you use your Brains Behind the Butterflies approach to online dating – never send anyone money through a dating site.
Be cautious sending personal information
When you’re getting to know a match, sometimes you talk about things you wouldn’t with your friends. However, there are certain pieces of information you should never share with someone. Whilst you might think it’s obvious not to share your bank details, credit card numbers, driver’s license details or passport number, other details – like your mother’s maiden name or the name of your first pet can be just as useful to scammers. Our Trust & Safety team have put together a really useful video on how easy it to give out this information, without even realising you are doing it.
Don’t keep it online forever
There are lots of reasons why this is important. Firstly, it will stop you forming unrealistic expectations of your date, and allow you to work out if there is a spark in real life. Secondly, where online fraud is concerned, a scammer is unlikely to meet with you in real life. If someone repeatedly makes excuses why he or she cannot meet up with you, be cautious. If someone seems too good to be true, they may well be. Call their bluff and ask to meet up. You’ll win either way – either driving a scammer away, or meeting someone who turns out to be just as amazing as their profile suggested!
Keep your mobile number safe
At eHarmony, our focus is on keeping you safe and keeping your love life private – which is why you can’t just trawl or randomly browse profiles.
We put you in the driving seat when it comes to your search for love, giving you safe and easy ways to get to know your matches better with features such as Guided Communication and Secure Call.
Secure Call provides a confidential and anonymous way to chat with your matches over the phone without having to reveal your phone number. It’s clever stuff. We know sometimes all it takes is to hear someone’s voice and you instantly know if there is enough chemistry to take the relationship to the next level, and this way you can build that bond in a safe environment that works for you.
Report anyone behaving suspiciously
Never be afraid to report someone if you think they are behaving strangely. If you feel uncomfortable, or even remotely suspicious, contact our Trust & Safety team straight away firstname.lastname@example.org – they’re here for you.
Meet in a busy, public place and don’t accept a lift
Save secluded, midnight walks for later in your relationship. When you’ve only just met someone, meet in busy bars, restaurants or tourist spots.
If your date offers to pick you up, politely decline. Plan your own transport to and from the date. Never reveal your address to someone you’ve only just met, and drive or use public transport to avoid getting into a car alone with a stranger.
Always make sure someone knows where you are
Make sure a friend or flatmate knows when and where you’re meeting your date. Give them basic information about the person you’re meeting, check in once you’ve met your date and when you plan to leave. Let someone know what time you plan to be home, and if you live alone, check in with a friend at the end of the night. There are a number of safety apps that you can download so a friend knows where you are at all times.
Don’t drink too much
Dutch courage may be an appealing option when you’re panicking about a date, but try not to drink too much. Alternate glasses of wine with glasses of water, or opt to drive as that’s an immediate way to take alcohol out of the picture completely. Remember: alcohol not only eclipses nerves, but also lowers inhibitions. And lastly, never leave your drink unattended.
Remember you’re in control – never be afraid to leave
If you feel uncomfortable, leave. Regardless of whether it’s in the first five minutes of the date, or after five hours. If someone does or says something which makes you feel remotely uncomfortable, don’t feel like you can’t walk away. It’s your life, and your safety. This person is a stranger, and you need to protect yourself, first and foremost.
Go home alone on the first date
No matter how much someone excites you, don’t rush into sleeping with him or her. At the end of the evening, go home to your own bed, alone. Get to know someone a bit better before you invite him or her to your place, or spend the night at their house. When you do decide it’s time to get more intimate, remember to be safe and again make sure someone knows your plans.
If you ever need to contact us for trust and safety concerns we’re always here for you.
You can reach us by chat or phone Monday – Friday between the hours of 10:30 AM and 7:30 PM BST and on Saturday between 9 AM and 6 PM BST. We are also available via email 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
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