Anywhere you go to meet a stranger is going to present a crime of opportunity. However, with reasonable precautions and good common sense there should be reduced risk.

The online dating stigma has changed considerably over the last 10 years. Many people find online dating to be one of the best forms of meeting someone new. However, since the prevalence of dating through online sites has increased a great deal, so has the incidence of crimes associated with online dating, particularly sex crimes like date rape.

Personal Safety Tips

  • One of the most important ways to protect yourself from such a crime is to meet any new potential date at a public place or with friends for the first few dates.
  • Most crimes of this nature happen in a private residence, so it is important that before you decide to be with this person alone, you have established the person's identity and background.
  • Avoid drinking or putting this person in control and don't allow him/her to pressure you to be alone until you are ready. 
  • Tell friends and family who you are planning to meet and his/her contact information and where you met.
  • Let friends or family know where you will be and never leave that location without letting someone know.
  • If your date orders an Uber or Lyft make sure you see the ride request, license plate and driver.  Verify before entering the car.
  • Don't answer financial questions or information relevant to available cash or credit cards with you on your date.
  • Do not go to an ATM with your date and withdraw money.
  • If your date makes you uncomfortable, discontinue the date immediately and leave.
  • Provide your own transportation on the first few dates.
  • Watch your drink and food. Don't share. Don't leave it unattended.  If you get up to dance or mingle, take your drink with you or finish it.  If you begin to feel impaired beyond what you have consumed, seek help immediately.  Do not leave with your date.
  • Keep your cell phone with you at dinner, bathroom, dancing, socializing.  Anywhere you go, take it with you.
  • Don't provide more pictures and never share nudes or pictures you wouldn't share with everybody in the world.

Money Scams

Another crime that is prevalent through online dating is a scam to pressure someone to send money. According to the FBI warning, criminals use dating sites to target lonely and vulnerable men and women and then pressure them to send money. Once this happens, the scammer continues to develop the "scam" relationship by suggesting they need more money to come visit or for emergencies.

Scam warning signs:

The target is urged to leave the dating site and start communicating via instant messaging, email or text

The scammer instantly falls in love or suggests they feel very close to the victim even though they have never met

Sends a picture that seems too good to be true

Claims to be a US Citizen working out of the country

Makes plans to visit the victim, but never can due to tragedy or emergency

Asks for money for things like travel, emergency, hotel bills, hospital bills for children or relative, visas, official documents, financial setbacks or being a victim of a crime. There could be numerous reasons, but the main sign is asking for money. The FBI warns never to send or wire money to anyone you meet online.

The chances of recovering any money is very slim. This is one reason why these crimes are so prevalent. A huge warning sign is that the correspondence has a good amount of grammatical errors or broken English. But, this is not in every case. If you suspect you are a victim of any crime via the internet to include dating sites you should report it immediately by visiting


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