The Ultimate Guide to Online Dating Safety – Stats, Facts, Tips

online dating danergs

Online dating is a world of life changing opportunity, both positive and negative. If used safely and responsibly, it can help you find the love of your life. Meeting someone online is significantly different from meeting someone in person. When it comes to  online dating, there is always the potential of danger quietly hiding in a seemingly harmless   profile.

Dating services, whether online or traditional,  can lead to more than romantic encounters.Dating businesses, particularly online dating services , have become popular and profitable in recent years, a industry with over 41 million users and growing every day. With any online dating or social websites, there are risks, but do you know the reality of those risks?
Its important to be armed with the numbers so you don’t become a statistic. Here are some interesting statistics about online dating (as of July 2016):

 

Annual revenue from the online dating industry

$1,749,000,000

Average spent by dating site customer per year

$243

Average length of courtship for marriages that met online

18.5 Months

Average length of courtship for marriages that met offline

42 Months

Percent of users who leave within the first 3 months

10 %

Percent of male online dating users

52.4 %

Percent of female online dating users

47.6 %

Percent of marriages in the last year in which the couple met on a dating site

17 %

Percent of current committed relationships that began online

20 %

Percent who say common interests are the most important factor

64 %

Percent who say physical characteristics are the most important factor

49 %

Percent of people who believe in love at first sight

71 %

Percent of women who have sex on the first online dating encounter

33 %

Percent of people who say they have dated more than one person simultaneously

53 %

Percent of sex offenders who use online dating to meet people

10 %

 

Take a look at total number of people in the U.S. who have tried online dating – 49,250,000. As you can see from the statistics, the percent of sex offenders who use online dating to meet people is huge! 10% – which means there are about 5 MILLION sex offenders in US only.

When you provide information about yourself online, you inevitably take certain risks. Online dating, perhaps because it speaks to our fondest hopes, opens the door to certain vulnerabilities.

So what are the dangers of Internet Dating ?

  • Stalking and harassment.
  • Fraud, when people appeal appeal to your better nature to help them out of an ‘unfortunate situation’ by sending money.
  • People masquerading as somebody who they are not.
  • Spam, selling or fraud, especially romance fraud.
  • Webcam blackmail, where fraudsters record things you may do in front of your webcam then use the recording to extort money.
  • Phishing emails claiming to be from an online dating site and encouraging you to divulge personal information.
  • Being defrauded by using websites posing as authentic dating sites.
  • Potential theft of your money if you do not use a secure link when making payments.
  • Using certain dishonest dating sites that:
    • Set up ‘pseudo’ or fake profiles where the person you think you have met is actually employed by the site to keep you hanging on  and paying money
    • Stop sending you contacts and messages as soon as you have paid the fee to receive them (read more)

 

Earlier this year, security firm Symantec warned that almost half of people using dating sites or apps had been scammed or spammed. Daters fell victim to blackmail, were subjected to revenge porn and were tricked by people who assumed fake identities to steal cash.

The True Behind Online Dating Profiles that you’re not going to like!

Study  81 percent  (approximately 9 out of 10) of people misrepresent their height, weight or age in their online dating profiles.

online dating lie statisticsonline dating lies in profiles

 

Spotting of an online dating scammer it’s getting tougher, so What Should I watch For?


The following are some red flags that might indicate an online dating scam:

  • The individual wants to leave the dating site immediately and use personal e-mail or IM accounts.

  • During the first communication, the individual want to know how do you earn your living. It tells them if you are a good financial prospect.

  • The individual claims instant feelings of love.

  • The individual claims to be from the United States but currently overseas.

  • The individual claims he or she is planning to visit but is unable to do so because of a tragic event.

  • Beware of anyone offering you ways to get rich quick putting your money into investment schemes.

  • The individual asks for money to pay for travel, visas or other travel documents, medication, a child or other relative’s hospital bills, recovery from a temporary financial setback, or expenses while a big business deal comes through.

  • The individual makes multiple requests for more money.

    How to Stay Safe when Online Dating

Consider these safety tips when dating online:

  • Research the website or mobile application thoroughly. Request the guidelines the company follows in screening its applicants. Does the service conduct a criminal background check for each person, using databases such as SSP Blue’s RSO SAFE? Also, ask friends about their experiences with online dating sites.
  • Guard your identity. Never give personal background information as this can be used for identity theft. Don’t share phone no, real name, work place, email, etc. Don’t post personal contacts to your profile. Your private life should stay private until you know someone really well
  • Be wary about what pictures you share. Never share anything you wouldn’t mind your family or others seeing.
  • Take the time to research your matches. If any red flags are raised in your communication with someone, check his or her name on an internet search engine and on social media. You can also take a part of the suspicious email and copy and paste it into a search engine to see if it has been associated with any other scams. More details on how to investigate in this article.
  • Never tell a potential date any detailed financial information.
  • Ask to meet. If you cannot meet a potential partner, they probably do not exist.
  • Never send anyone money. Often times, scammers will share a story of financial difficulty. Never send money to someone you have not met in person. It is difficult to get money back from someone who may be misrepresenting themselves once it has been sent.
  • Use caution with those who want to take your conversation off the dating site immediately. Many times scammers will attempt to lure you off the dating site to continue communication using personal email accounts.
  • Read the signs. Be cautious of individuals who claim to have fallen instantly in love, or who say they are traveling or working overseas. Beware of people who prey on emotions by claiming to be trapped in a foreign country or involved in an emergency, and needing you to send them money. This is a sign for a “catfishing” scam.
  • Many online dating sites automatically renew memberships. Read the contract in detail and send written cancellation notice to avoid being billed again.

How long to wait before meeting in person?

One survey shows that 28 % of respondents chat online with a potential date for between one to two weeks before meeting up in person, while 24 per cent meet up within the first week. See other data below:

how much to wait to meet in person

Moving to a real date is great when you feel a strong connection. Our dating safety tips encourage you to take time to build trust, to get to know the person behind the online profile before meeting in real life, to minimize the risk of falling victim of fraud.

When you Meet In Real Life – How to date great and date safe when meeting up

  • Tell someone, friends or family about where you’re going, and keep them posted.
  • If it’s possible, ask to meet in person, maybe to a group outing and always in a safe, public place: coffee shop, restaurant, museum, etc.  If the individual offers various excuses or refuses to meet, this may be a sign they are not who they say they are.
  • Use your own transportation to get to and from the date
  • Don’t drink too much alcohol and don’t let your drink unattended
  • Keep your personal items always with you: phone, purse, wallet.
  • Never leave home without a exit strategy!
  • Trust your instincts. If things get weird, leave!

In addition, check up this video from Online Dating Association

 

Other Safety Advices for Online Dating:

Stick to larger companies that have a reputation. Online dating websites like Match.com, eHarmony.com, Zoosk.com, Jdate.com, Hotcitas.com, Mingle.com offers ample safety and security software, to help you stay safe while searching for matches. Read reviews and check ask friends about their experience with dating websites.

Is Your Teen Dating Online?

Another statistics shows that the share of 18 to 24 year olds who report having used online dating has nearly tripled since 2013.

usage of online dating sites or apps
The Bureau of Justice Special Report, reported that the highest rate of intimate violence is perpetrated against women ages 16 to 24, So, the next questions is…

Is Your Teen Safe?

In most cases, online dating is unsafe for teens. Teens think they know it all, but as any parent knows, they tend to be very naive and trusting. As a parent, you have to keep in mind – internet has predators on it! IN PLANTY! Predators are masters at what they do. And what most people don’t know, is they know how to fool you.

Research by Cox Communications Inc and National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMES) reveals The Potential Risk of Teens and Online Predators:

 

  • A large majority of teens (71%) have established online profiles (including social networking sites such as Facebook), up from 61% from the previous year

  • 69% of teens regularly receive personal messages online from people they do not know and most of them do not tell a trusted adult about it

  • Teens readily post personal info online. 64% post photos or videos of themselves, while more than half (58%) post info about where they live. Females are far more likely than male teens to post personal photos or videos of themselves (70% vs. 58%)

  • Nearly one in 10 teens (8%) has posted his or her cell phone number online

 

Overall, 19% of teens report they have been harassed or bullied online, and the incidence of online harassment is higher (23%) among 16 and 17 year old. Girls are more likely to be harassed or bullied than boys (21% vs. 17%)

What Parents & Teens Can Do to Help Protect Themselves:

Here are some steps you can follow to make sure your child’s online relation is safe, and how to spot a internet predator or a catfish profile:
– Teach them that online dating is not meant for teens. It’s 18+ only!
– Think twice before accepting friend requests. Who they know in common.
– Use this free tool that lets you do a reverse image search for their profile image. If it’s find it somewhere else, then probably is a catfish profile.
– Simple google the friend name and see what’s coming out.

For a more detailed list, check this great post and How parents can guide teens when it comes to dating and relationships.

Online Tools and Websites to spot a online dating scammer:

 

  1. Google – sometimes a simple google search for their name, nickname or email is enough to spot a scammer.
  2. TinEye – reverse profile image search – explained above
  3. WhitePages – if you’e got their phone number, you can perform a reverse phone lookup and find out if their name matches who they’re claiming to be.
  4. Check this list of scammers emails
  5. Search trough already known profiles of scammers and fakes

 

 

Remember: The key to staying safe in online dating is staying aware. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

Where to Find Help:

If you think you’ve been victimized by a dating scam or any other online scam, file a complaint with Internet Crime Complaint Center (www.ic3.gov).

Other organizations:

Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN)

2000 L Street NW
Suite 406
Washington DC, 20036
Hotline: (800) 656-HOPE
Phone: (202) 544-1034
Web:
http://www.rainn.org
Email: info@RAINN.org
Provides information, help and resources throughout the country, and a helpline.

National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence
Phone: 512.407.9020
Web: http://www.ncdsv.org
Email: Debby Tucker, Executive Director, dtucker@ncdsv.org

National Women’s Health Information Center
Phone: 1-800-994-9662
Web: http://www.4woman.gov/violence/index.cfm?page=91

Resources and refferences:

Statistics courtesy of brainstat.com & grabstat.com
www.pewresearch.org/ Pew research Center
dating.about.com/od/onlinedating/ss/datingscams.htm#step5
www.michigan.gov/ag/0,4534,7-164-17337_20942-252676–,00.html
diethics.com – your guide to a better lifestyle
tn.gov/news/37801
backgroundhawk.com/online-dating-tips-safe-avoid-wrong-people/
archives.fbi.gov/archives/sandiego/press-releases/2014/looking-for-love-beware-of-online-dating-scams
www.phactual.com/16-scary-statistics-of-online-dating/

 

 

 

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