For many singles, finding love has been extra tough with the pandemic. As social distancing orders restricted mobility, opportunities to meet new people have certainly dwindled. In such a context, online matchmaking has taken center stage, providing a platform to meet and connect those searching for love and companionship.
In fact, according to a Stanford study, online dating apps are now the most popular way that couples connect. The algorithms could do wonders when it comes to matching you up with potential suitors. But this matchmaking process is not always perfect. So, researching your online date before meeting in person is a must. After all, 50% of online daters are already doing it.
Here are 5 reasons why you should too.
1. Verify details
You can’t always believe everything you see or hear on an online dating app. Many people misrepresent, exaggerate, or even lie on these platforms. For instance, they may add a few extra inches to their actual height, take a few pounds off their weight, or Photoshop their profile photo to look a few years younger. These are common tricks of the game to increase their chances of finding a date.
So, it’s important to verify the information they share to avoid disappointment later on. A quick search on Google and social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn is the easiest way to scan their details and ensure you are not being misled. It may also help you identify mutual friends and associates, who could be a valuable source to verify information further.
2. Get to know them better
Now, asking too many questions may come across as being intrusive, especially when you first meet online. But the more information you have of your date, the easier it becomes to understand how compatible you are before moving on to an in-person date. This makes it essential to do some detective work of your own.
For a more comprehensive background check, Nuwber would be your best option. It’ll help you research your date anonymously and dive into more personal information. For example, you can find out whether they are married and have kids, where they live and work, and even their financial details like bankruptcies and mortgages. Also, opt for a social media search to understand their values, beliefs, and interests.
But, are all these overly intrusive? Likely not, especially when you consider the amount of hassle they could save by helping you skip incompatible dates.
3. Avoid online predators
Dating apps could be a breeding ground for stalkers and sexual predators. According to a study by the Pew Research Center,57% of women between 18 and 34 have received a sexually explicit message or image through dating sites. Six in ten have been continuously contacted when they have expressed disinterest. And 19% have even received threats to cause physical harm.
So, researching your potential date before meeting up or even pursuing a conversation could be essential to avoid these predators. With many people sharing their negative experiences online, especially on social media, a little bit of digging could help you uncover plenty of useful information. Nuwber may even find details on any arrest records, misdemeanors, and court cases. And if you discover anything disturbing, end the conversation and inform the dating platform. Remember, ensuring their platform is secure is a priority for them, just as ensuring your personal safety is for you. So, they’ll appreciate the tip-off.
4. Identify scams
When you sign up for online dating, you’re often going in with an open mind, feeling hopeful and positive. And this can make you particularly vulnerable to racketeers and criminals who frequently use these platforms to initiate various scams. For example, they could attempt to win your trust and lure you into disclosing personal information. They might try to commit identity and financial theft by getting hold of your SSN or financial information. Or they could manipulate you into sending them money. And sharing incriminating, explicit, or sensitive data could lead to blackmail and extortion, too. It might even result in doxing.
So, in case you notice any suspicious behavior, doing some research is essential to verify your concerns. But they will often use fake or stolen profiles to initiate these types of activities. This means a lack of data or inconsistencies in them should raise a red flag during your research.
5. Tackle bots
Sophisticated AI-driven bots are all over the internet now. And they’re also on dating sites in abundance. Dating bots are used for various purposes, almost always without good intention. For example, they may try to collect your personal information or direct you to a scam website. But sometimes, online dating sites are using them, too. They could set up fake profiles maneuvered by bots, usually to push you into a paid membership. For instance, you could get messages from a potential match, only to find the conversations are suddenly blurred. Then the platform will ask you to sign up for a paid membership to continue with the chat. And when you do, the suitor may no longer seem interested in a conversation.
To avoid bot-led scams like these, you must learn to identify them first. Of course, inconsistent, scripted, or repetitive messages might be a definite hint. You can also research their profile information and reverse search profile photos to detect anything peculiar.
Now, scams, bots, and predators should not discourage you from finding love online. In fact, the vast majority of online daters, 71% to be precise, find their dating experience very or somewhat safe. But having said that, nearly one in three people choose not to meet up once they have researched their potential date. So, while you let the algorithms do their work to find a love match, it might be a good idea to do your own background work to ensure their accuracy.