Tips for Staying Safe With Online Dating

At Higher Bond, we work hard to protect our users. Our teams manually verify every account and every photo that is submitted to the platform. If we identify accounts we believe to be fake or spam, we remove them immediately. Additionally, we have several areas within the platform where you can report anything that doesn’t feel right to you.

That all being said, users still have to do their part to stay safe online. Here are some of the most important tips for staying safe when dating online.

1. NEVER give out your banking or payment information to anyone.

The only time you should ever be using any of your banking or payment information at an online dating site is when you’re purchasing a premium membership directly from the site. You should NEVER give any banking information, credit card information, or payment information to any members or other users. Additionally, if someone asks you to purchase something for them, wants to send you a check, wants you to buy gift cards, offers to let you invest in something, or anything else like this—that’s a red flag and you should follow the advice below.

If another member ever asks you to give them banking information of any kind, do not give them the information, stop talking with them immediately, and contact customer support and report them.

2. Don’t send money to anyone for any reason.

There is no reason during the dating process to send money to anyone that you’re speaking with, especially prior to meeting them in person. Even then, there really is no place for it. Unfortunately, some people who are looking to take advantage of others will share stories of personal, financial, or family struggles in hopes that the other person will offer to send them money to help out of the goodness of their heart. Or, they may be more direct and ask for the financial help.

Additionally, this goes for people asking for money to visit you or anything like that. While it may sound tempting to pay to help them come see you, this is almost certainly not the intended use of the money you send them.

The best way to stay safe is to never send money to anyone you’re talking to or dating online, especially prior to meeting them in person.

3. Be careful with what personal information you share with someone.

Online dating is all about getting to know other potential matches which does involve sharing information about yourself! But be careful if you feel like a match is asking you odd questions that are a little too personal. For example, if they start asking for your email address or your mother’s maiden name or anything like that, do not give them the information, stop talking with them immediately, and contact customer support and report them.

Often, this information might be used to answer security questions somewhere else or gain access to something of yours.

4. Be careful if someone asks you to continue the conversation on a different platform.

Ideally, we recommend keeping most of your communications with new matches on the platform. There’s no need to give out contact information too early as other platforms may not be as secure. Once you feel comfortable, consider talking to your match on the phone before meeting up in person to verify they are who they say they are. It’s best to use a video chat service or something similar to ensure they are who they say they are.

Video chatting before meeting up in person doesn’t guarantee that everything they told you is the truth, but it can weed out a lot of people who are not who they’re portraying in their photos online.

5. Don’t share your address or the exact location you work.

This is information that a new match just doesn’t need. If something doesn’t go according to plan and they know where you work or where you live, that can complicate the situation. It’s okay to tell them the kind of work you do, but we’d recommend not sharing the company. For example, if you’re a barista at a Starbucks, just tell them you’re a barista.

Keeping this information private until the time is right can help to keep a lot of situations from getting complicated when things don’t go great with a match.

6. Be careful what you have in your photos.

At Higher Bond, we manually approve every photo to do our best to help you keep anything that might be unsafe from being added to your profile. Some of the things we recommend keeping out of your photos are minors (your children), pictures with street signs that show where you live, pictures that clearly show exactly where you work, work badges that have your personal information on them, and any other personal information in the background of a photo.

Make sure you look at the background of the photos you’re uploading so that you don’t end up giving away unwanted personal information unknowingly.

7. Do not click any links or download any files from a match.

At Higher Bond, we block these from the messaging platform. However, sometimes people can find unique ways to get you to go to certain websites or let them email you files. Do not ever click on a link or download a file from a match. If there is a website they want you to visit (for example, one that shows a Church group they support), search for the website yourself. This way they can’t input any malicious programs or unwanted things on your device.

Always search for websites someone wants to show you on your own and never click the link that they send you.

8. Trust your gut.

If something feels wrong, it probably is. If you’re ever confused, unsure, or just have questions about something that feels wrong, don’t send anymore messages until you contact support. Let us know what is going on so we can advise you on the best and safest route forward.

If something feels like it might be off or wrong, it probably is. This is especially true for things that seem too good to be true.

Here are some examples of situations to be wary of (these are just examples, not a complete list):

  • If someone tells you that they’re a University Professor (what is most likely a highly educated profession), but they can’t seem to put together a complete and coherent sentence.
  • If someone tells you their name is one thing but their profile has a different name listed.
  • If you ask them some basic questions to help verify they’re real and they give you odd answers or refuse to answer without a good reason. (Note: If they don’t want to give you their last name so you can search for them, that may just be them being safe also).
  • If the person claims a certain profession but knows nothing about that profession and can’t answer questions about it
  • If someone seems way too interested in you way too quickly
  • If someone significantly younger is showing a lot of interest (sometimes this can be real, but it’s often a common red flag that something is wrong)

9. When in doubt, ask for help and don’t take the risk.

If you’re unsure on something, pause the conversation and reach out to customer support. It’s what we’re here for.

While you may think that you’ve found a great match, taking a risk on your safety and security when things don’t feel right is never going to be worth it.