Don't get Tinder swindled: Here are 4 essential online dating safety tips

Dating apps have become something of a necessity for many single people.

Of course, it’s still possible to meet someone the old-fashioned way with a meet-cute worthy of a sappy holiday movie, but dating apps and websites have made their mark and paved the way for many people to find a match.

One in ten adults who are either married, living with their partner, or in a committed relationship met their significant other through a dating site or app, a 2023 Pew Research Center study found.

Dating sites and apps provide a catalog of people to choose from, offering hope of making a connection worthy of a meetup in the real world.

However, a Pew Research Center study found that nearly one-third of people who have used dating apps have safety concerns, so it’s no surprise that the idea of meeting a stranger can be unsettling for some.

Watch this video for tips on how to stay safe while using dating apps.

Verification Badges

Many dating apps have added verification badges, which are similar to the ones used on social media platforms. They come in a variety of forms but look for something like a check mark or the word "verified" near the person's name.

Dating platforms use different ways to verify that the person in the pictures is real. For instance, Bumble and Hinge use selfie verification methods that biometrically compare a real-time selfie to the photos in your profile.

If there's a profile that piques your interest but isn't verified, that's ok! A lack of verification doesn't mean the profile is fake.

Video Calling

It’s not uncommon to be wary about sharing your phone number with someone you have never met.

Apps, including Bumble and The League, offer in-app video calling as an alternative to revealing your contact details.

The video calling option appears once you’ve matched with someone, but there may be some prerequisites to use it.

  • On Bumble (the app known for women making the first move), women can video call a match immediately, whereas men can call once the woman sends a message.

  • Tinder requires both participants to opt-in to the feature before either party can initiate a call.

Facebook Groups

“Are We Dating The Same Guy” Facebook groups are designed to help people discover any “tea or red flags” on someone they are dating or might meet.

The idea behind these groups is to inform people in cities around the country about potential suitors, not to gossip about people.

The groups have rules around acceptable behavior inside and outside of the page.

Do’s include:

  • Sharing the first name and photograph of the person you're curious about.

  • Asking for dating or relationship advice.

Don’ts include:

  • Sharing personal details, like social media handles, phone numbers or addresses.

  • Screenshotting posts and sharing them outside of the page.

  • Commenting on a person’s looks.

If you are part of one of these groups, be mindful of what you are posting on a semi-public platform.

Some members of the Chicago-area group are involved in an invasion of privacy and defamation lawsuit filed by a man who was negatively spoken about in the group.

Share Location

So, you’ve arranged to go on a first date. Congratulations!

Once you’ve decided on a place to meet, share your location with someone you trust and let them know your plans.

Many smartphones have a built-in feature to share your location with someone using the same operating system. You can also use apps like Google Maps or WhatsApp to share your location across different operating systems.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Online dating safety tips: How to navigate apps like Hinge safely