Main Rules of Safe Hookup : You Can Protect Yourself From Scammers And We Know How
Online Hookup looks so attractive with its promises that you will find the love of your life and just a huge number of potential matches. One may assume that online dating is much better than the traditional ways to seek partners, and it is some kind of truth, but “online and convenient” doesn’t mean “safe”.
The Terms and conditions of online hookup sites often state that the administration doesn’t bear the burden of responsibility for the users’ actions and decisions. It means that you are the only person who will deal with the results of your online activity and you are the one who should protect your private life and health.
We know how you can enjoy safe online dating. After you finish reading this article, you will know it too.
Benefits vs potential risks of seeking a sex partner online
Why some people don’t use conventional dating but start using dating sites? There are a lot of personal reasons, yet we can share the main ones:
- They want to get access to a big number of potential romance candidates who claim that they really want a relationship;
- They want to have the possibility for unlimited communication with the potential partners;
- They need help in choosing among the dating site’s users — a matchmaking system that is widely used on online dating platforms.
- They need identity and anonymity simultaneously. For example, for HIV-positive gay men using the internet to seek sexual partners at gay hookup websites, it has been found that online hookup can offer them online screening and help in finding other HIV-positive gay men while allowing them to avoid abuse and discrimination.
Even though online hookup has changed the romance world completely and made it much easier, it has some risks which have to be discussed. You shouldn’t ignore these risks and value the benefits more than them. So, here is the full list of online dating pitfalls that can really hurt you if you ignore the safety rules which we will discuss later.
- Getting a sexually transmitted infection. In Australia, in 1997 there were 15,355 sexually transmitted infection notiﬁcations and this number has significantly increased in 2004 there were 46,762 as the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reported. Even though this increase may be explained also by the invention of new more sensitive tests, it still means you have a higher risk to get infected if you know nothing about your new date and never use condoms.
- Experiencing misunderstanding and thus offending your interlocutors or being misled by them. We can minimize ambiguity that often happens during online communication (namely correspondence) if we clarify everything that sounds strange. Usually, it is not possible to see your interlocutor’s facial expressions and hear his/her voice, especially if you use a dating site that offers only writing communication tools. We can also miss nuances or implications during an e-dialog, but chat does allow the use of images, emoticons, and other things to show the interlocutor our mood and attitude. Some dating websites can even personify their chat font and its color, as well as chat background, making the communication more enlivened and making it closer to the real one.
- Lies. According to MSNBC, research shows that 11% of people using online dating services are married. More than 40% of men try to charm women by lying and making their career sound more prestigious. These are, well, innocent examples of lies that can end in disappointment (though this disappointment can be mentally harmful.)
- Meeting scammers and losing money. Approximately 50% of the experienced online dating users claim that some individuals create accounts on websites to scam others. This is the most frequently met problem: plenty of people are scared of scammers and fraudsters, and they can’t even think about trying online dating. Even hundreds of thousands of success stories cannot inspire them to try. That’s why we want to share with you a lot of useful information on how to spot a scammer and protect yourself from their harmful influence and the results of the communication with them.
We are writing all this not to threaten you, but to inform you. Online Hookup is like using the internet — you should know how to search for relevant and trustworthy information and filter it using facts and logic. In the right hands, online dating can be a useful and convenient thing. And we are going to help you to develop the skill of spotting scammers and standing up to them.
How to spot a scammer?
You should be attentive when using dating sites. People who often use dating platforms develop a filtering skill which we all have, but most of the individuals who prefer conventional dating don’t notice some things that a regular online dating user can spot.
- Physical description of a person in their profile can contain mistakes. If the description is inaccurate or doesn’t match the photos in a profile, it can be a bad sign.
- Photos in the profile can belong to different people. If you notice that there are very similar, but different people in the images, you should avoid contacting this person.
- Photos can be stolen from other dating sites or stocks. You can be surprised with how careless some people are — a lot of scammers just steal someone’s profile photos and pretend to be someone else.
- People can respond differently to the same questions. No one can play a different person forever: you will definitely spot the difference between something your partner told you a few days ago with something they tell you today.
- Scammers often ask for financial help. People start to seek love or hookup, not money. Those of them who want sugar relationship that imply sex-and-money based “love” usually choose sugar dating websites. Those who register on ordinary dating sites seek romantic dates, hookup, or scam. The latter start to ask for money pretty quickly, so you can spot them and report fraud.
If a scammer is too experienced for you to notice his mistakes or if you just failed to recognize a mean person, you still have all chances to stand up to them.
As you already know, more and more people start to use dating sites and social networks to find matches. Let’s start with the list of actions you should and shouldn’t do when dating on the internet.
- Set up a new email and use it on dating sites. This is your first barrier that can protect you from scammers and spammers.
- Don’t. Send. Money. In 2019, almost 20,000 complaints categorized as romance scams were reported to IC3 (about 1,000 more than the previous year), and the losses people carried according to collected data has exceeded $475 million. Scammers adore imitating people with problems and complaining on various things, and then ask their victims for financial help. Even if you feel a deep connection between you and your date, you should think twice before sending any sums to a potential scammer.
- Use video chat. A lot of sex websites like webcam sites offer this service, and even though it is often quite expensive, it is worth trying. Once you see a person who is behind the profile, you will be able to breathe a sigh of relief. Moreover, a real-time communication can tell you much more about your potential date than any profile description: you will see the facial expression, hear the voice, and will have the possibility to recognize lies “in person”.
- Ask for real photos. This is a common thing: you just can ask your girl to make a nice selfie because you miss her or offer your man to show you his face and today’s outfit. Constant refusal to do it may signify either about a high degree of shyness or about the fact that you’re talking to a scammer who doesn’t want to show their face.
- Do not publish your address or phone number in a profile. Also, don’t post photos of your house: people may recognize the place you’re living in and assume that you are a wealthy person and choose you as a potential target to scam.
- Pay attention to how detailed answers they give. If you understand that your interlocutor answers shortly and doesn’t want to reveal any facts about themselves, you can either continue to talk to that person and see if it is just a feature of character, or to try any of the above-mentioned ways to prove the identity of your date.
Please note that you should carefully assemble your own profile as well to reflect your e-dating expectations and desires. Other real people on the site will find your profile attractive and trustworthy, thus you will have more chances to have a conversation with a person who really wants a new relationship and likes you. This is not a protective measure but a recommendation: you are a part of the e-community and you should also look like a real person for the other people to consider you a potential partner to date.
On a real meeting
Before arranging a meeting, make sure that you’ve been communicating for a long enough time, don’t go out with someone you know a little. Additionally, you should tell at least one person that you are going for a date with someone you’ve met online/someone you have never seen before in real life/someone you’ve met once in life (if a guy or a girl has approached you on a street with a polite offer to meet later for a cup of coffee.) Additionally, if you can provide your friend or relative with a phone number of your date or even a photo, it is also a great opportunity to protect yourself in case you get into trouble.
So, to stay safe on a real date, you can:
- Meet in a public place. This is the most common yet the most helpful tip: people just can’t attack you if you’re in the center of a cafe. Don’t agree to host someone at yours! Once your partner visits you, they know where you live.
- Set up a silent alarm. It can be useful if you feel things get more serious and you want to leave but can’t do it for a reason.
- Don’t accept drinks that your date has brought. Some people can use special liquids to put their victims to sleep and then rob them.
- Leave if you feel uncomfortable or unsafe! You don’t owe an explanation, you can just leave. If your date insists you should stay, you should call your friend and try to go to another public place to wait for the friend to come.
- You can also use a codeword if you want to call your friend with asking for help without being “catched.” Discuss this word with your friends or relatives, and make it sound natural for you to insert it into your speech effortlessly and without being noticed.
- If you seek hookup and agree on having sex on the first date, you should use a condom. It will be your additional protection from problems you can experience later.
To summarize the section, we want to recommend reading the book by Tyler Cohen Wood, “Catching the Catfishers.” You will find much more information about catching the people who can harm you and ways to protect yourself if you have to deal with them.
You don’t have to deprive yourself from online dating and hookup because of the fear of meeting scammers.
E-dating tools are helpful enough to make your searching for a good match much faster and convenient. You also should remember that the online world has pretty the same pitfalls and some unique ones, like misunderstandings during correspondence, potential lies, and other ones that we have listed above.
If you are attentively watching the profiles of online dating sites, if you pay attention to the way your interlocutor talks, and if you can use a video chat, you will unlikely experience problems with potential partners. You should also be careful when your relationship goes on a higher level and you arrange a meeting — just re-read our article to remind yourself what you should do to avoid troubles before and on the date.