Modern dating can feel like being lost at sea with the tide changing in every direction at a moment’s notice.
You don’t need to sit on the sidelines long before there’s been a massive cultural shift from the apps that are in vogue, to the way people communicate on them. Plus it’s understandable to feel wary of inviting strangers into an intimate part of your life.
Unfortunately, according to a survey by dating app The Inner Circle of 2,006 users, Brits only pluck up the courage to approach someone they fancy IRL once every 2.4 years so it looks like matching online is here to stay.
If you are going to find your future bae one swipe at a time, what can you do to make sure you’re doing it safely?
We caught up with the screeners at The Inner Circle – a team of Dutch mums who are responsible for checking over every profile before it’s allowed on the app and offer continued support to members on their journey to true love – to find out how to search for romance online safely and spot a suspicious profile.
Pay attention to what they say
You probably perused a person’s bio before matching with them so make sure the info they wrote in it lines up with what they say when you’re messaging.
Jacqueline Boelen, Security and Support Specialist, tells Metro.co.uk: ‘If you talk to them make sure that what it says on their About Me page aligns with the things that they tell you in the conversation, that’s definitely an easy but important one,’
If anything they say feels off, listen to that feeling, Annabel Seusan, Head of Security and Support, adds: ‘They’re talking to you but they don’t write good English or they immediately start up with like these big stories, like “oh my mom, she’s really sick and she’s in a hospital” and you know… Always, always follow your gut feeling.
‘I think you always kind of know or sense what is strange.’
Check their job title
‘We noticed that a lot of people don’t put in their real job titles and they make up fun job titles like dolphin trainer, moonwalker, rocket scientist,’ Annabel says.
Of course, there may be a large and varied community of dolphin trainers across the UK, but if they have made up a gag job not only could it be a bit of a red flag that they’re not who they say they are, but it could be a sign that they’re not serious about finding love.
‘We really want people to be authentic about who they are,’ Annabel adds.
Reverse search their pictures
Any avid viewer of MTV’s Catfish will know what to do if pictures look too good to be true, but for the unanointed Jacqueline explains: ‘Another way of verifying is to do a Google search image.’
By reverse image searching on Google Images, you’ll find any other pages those pictures have been used which could lead to a totally different Facebook page.
Annabel continues: ‘If a profile looks too good to be true we always search the picture on Google Images to make sure that it’s the real person themselves or we cross-check with Instagram. Lots of people add their Instagram account when they register or they write it in their about me section.’
They should want to pursue you
When you’re both interested in each other, the next logical step should be getting to know each other better and then hopefully taking things offline.
If that’s something you want to do and they seem hesitant, this can be cause for concern according to Annabel.
She says: ‘If they don’t want to do a video chat with you or get on the phone with you or they’re always finding an excuse not to meet up – those are major red flags.’
It’s exciting when you do arrange a date, and definitely something you’ll want to dissect in the group chat after, but letting your pals know a few details before you head out can help you feel a bit more secure.
Jacqueline says this can be as simple as telling your friends: ‘I’m going on a date, call you later’.
Support Manager, Sarah Ciolina suggests arranging your date at a restaurant or bar you’ve been to before so you know what to expect: ‘I think meet in a public place that you already know.
‘Perhaps even ask your friends if they are around. Never go to someone’s house on a first date. Don’t exclude yourself, just go out somewhere in public.’
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