16 Ways to Protect Yourself When Dating

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Modern technology makes it easier than ever to find a date. With that technology comes additional responsibilities to ourselves, our families and loved ones.

Combining our online world with our offline world in a stranger meets stranger scenario is not without its risks, regardless of whether it's a traditional date or a casual hookup. However, there are some sensible precautions we can take.


The Nightmare Scenario

“As long as you sleep with me, it’s fine, I won’t cause any problems for you or your family”

Mary (not her real name) couldn’t believe she was hearing these words after deciding to go on her first date in 10 years.

She'd simply decided that upon meeting her date, he wasn’t her type and more than that, even felt a little uneasy about him. Her intuition had obviously served her well.

Having innocently shared some of her basic personal details with him, this man was able to find her on social media.

He'd accessed some of her public photos and used the GEO location tags embedded in the photos to determine the exact location of her family home.

Luckily for Mary, she managed to convince him that this would not be the best way forward for either of them, but it took a few attempts and the risk of an additional in-person meeting to come to that understanding.

Some dating apps, like Manchester's first paid dating app, Tappa, automatically remove GEO location tags when you upload photos. 

 
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Before Using a Dating App

#1: Make sure your social media accounts are locked down. Google yourself in incognito/private mode to see what other people see.

#2: Remove the GPS location tags from any photos that you intend to share directly or leave accessible to the public. Check to see if your publicly available photos already contain GEO location tags with one of these tools:

⦁    Free Online Service: GeoImgr
⦁    Google Play Store: Photo Exif Editor
⦁    Apple App Store: Metapho

When Using a Dating App

#3: Favour verified users. Some dating apps, such as Manchester based Tappa, enable users to become verified which means their profile picture has been verified as being genuine. This enables you to make a conscious choice between verified and non-verified users.

#4: Google your date and if you find something that makes you uncomfortable about them, just don’t go on the date.

#5: Check if they use multiple identities i.e. profile pictures that clearly aren't the same person or multiple names associated those pictures. The following apps and tools can help:

If you can't find the image at all that doesn’t mean anything is wrong. They may just be careful about privacy or, they never shared the photo before.

#6: If you have their number, do some detective work. If your date has given you a mobile number already and you haven't been able to find their social media accounts from Google, then you can do some extra detective work by following these steps:

 
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Instagram

Install It:

  • If you haven't already got it, get it from the Apple or Android store and create a profile.

Find Your Dates Profile:

  • Go to the 'Discover People' option, select 'Contacts' and browse the list, taking a mental note of the suggestions that you see. Instagram looks at your phone contacts list and tells you which of those contacts have an account. Now close the Instagram app.

  • Add your dates number into your phones contacts, then go back to your Instagram app and check the suggested contacts.

Check Their Profile Picture:

  • Their profile picture can sometimes confirm, or cast doubt on information they have given you so far. For example, they say they're a fighter pilot yet they're pictured in Google's office with a Google employee badge pinned to them.

Check Their Bio:

  • As with a profile picture, someones bio can be quite telling. If you're currently campaigning to bring in anti-gun laws, chances are that their 'Love shootin my AK47 at the weekends' bio will be a turnoff for you.

Check Their Feed:

  • There's 50/50 chance that their profile won't be set to private and if you're lucky, there'll be a bunch of photo's that you can browse to get a feel for what kind of a person they might be.

WhatsApp

Install It:

  • If you haven't already got it, get it from the Apple or Android store and create a profile.

Find Your Dates Profile:

  • You already added your date as a phone contact earlier so just search for their name in the WhatsApp search feature and if they're on WhatsApp, you'll see them.

Check Their Profile Picture:

  • Their profile picture can sometimes confirm, or cast doubt on information they have given you so far. For example, they say they're a pilot just vising Manchester and looking for a date, yet they're pictured in Google's office with a Google employee badge pinned to them.

Check Their Bio:

  • As with a profile picture, someones bio can be quite telling. If you're currently campaigning for anti-gun laws, chances are that their 'Love shootin my AK47 at the weekends' bio will be a turnoff for you.

#7: Don't lie about who you are or what you look like. It's tempting to embellish the truth about ourselves on social media but be careful not to tell outright lies.

When lies are uncovered later on, you don't know how someone you've only just met is going to react.

 
 

#8: Listen to their voice for clues about their personality. When we communicate face to face with someone, we are subconsciously picking up subtle cues from way the other person uses their voice and this alone can sway our opinion of them i.e. are they safe?

The Tappa dating app has a unique built in feature which puts two people into a voice conversation without having to reveal their numbers to each other.

You can achieve this yourself by using a teleconferencing service such as PowWowNow.

During Your Date

#9: Tell friends and family where you are going beforehand and who you're meeting. Tappa, the Manchester based app which finds you a date on demand, has a digital guardian feature which escorts you on a date to help keep you safe.

Eva detects when you might be in trouble and will automatically request help from a trusted circle of friends.

 
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#10: Make sure your phone is fully charged and on the way to your meeting point, resist the urge to use up the battery by browsing social media. Also, take a small portable battery with you in case you need to charge up.

#11: Don't be picked up from where you live by your date if you are still getting to know them. Likewise, don't meet them at their house for dinner until they have demonstrated they can be trusted.

#12: Arrange your own transport. Public transport, taxi and Uber are good options. Uber is especially useful as you can share your ride information with friends so that they can track you in real-time and see that you have arrived home.

#13: Meet in a public place where there are plenty of other people around, it's always the safest option.

 
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#14: Try not to leave your food or drink unattended however, this one isn't always practical.

#15: Trust your gut instinct, if the situation doesn't feel right, it's probably not. If the other person makes you feel uneasy, make your excuses and leave or if you must, excuse yourself from the table to use the ladies/gents and then get out of there.

Once you feel that your comfortably far enough away from them and feel safe, be courteous and let them know that you have ended the date.

Make sure you use whatever messaging platform that you've already been communicating on, don't reveal your mobile number at this stage if you've managed to avoid it so far.

#16: Keep a clear head and try to avoid alcohol and drugs when on your date, they can impair your judgement and lead you to making a decision you might later regret or, react too slowly when your in a situation that needs you to react quickly.


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Tappa

Tappa is a Manchester based instant paid dating app which has been designed to bypass the swipe fatigue you'd get with trying to find a date in Manchester with apps like Tinder.

Whether it's a traditional date or a one night stand you're looking for, Tappa let's you filter based on your preferences so you don't even have to see requests that don't interest you. If one night stands are not your thing, you won't be put into a situation where that expectation has been set.

Users either pay to have you escort them on their date or, you pay them to escort you on your date and all at short notice.

Payment can simply be the in the form of covering expenses such as drinks and dinner (remember chivalry?), avoiding that awkward discussion at the end or, you can even ask for an amount in addition to expenses and why not? It's your valuable time you are giving up at the drop of a hat!

Sign Up for Tappa Here

Eva Toronto