Can you find if an online date is safe?
And Is it ethical to research someone before going on a date with them?
You might cringe when thinking about looking up someone you barely know online, but when it comes to meeting strangers, safety always comes first.
Figuring out how to find if an online date is safe is an important step in any online relationship, knowing who you are communicating with on an intimate level and possibly meeting is not only safe and smart but actually quite easy.
Why online dating safety is important
For your safety and sanity, it is necessary to know who you are going on a date with before meeting them in person for the first time. The Dating Goddess, author of 15 books in the "Adventures in Delicious Dating After 40" series offers some important advice on online dating safety.
"Get good at vetting people online before you agree to meet them. Have a few messages before giving them your phone number. Then talk on the phone at least once before agreeing to a coffee date. (Do NOT agree to a meal for the first encounter, so you can leave soon if you find they are not at all a match.)
By vetting carefully, I’ve weeded out those who ramble incessantly about themselves, are rude, interrupt, go sexual immediately and many other deal breakers.”
How can I find if an online date is safe?
It’s normal to feel reserved when giving your time and energy to someone you have never met physically, especially if you are considering going on a date with them. The last thing you want is to finally meet your match after spending your time getting to know them and have a first date experience that makes you never want to date again. Therefore, if you want to avoid a bad experience, my best advice to you would be to do some simple research once you have gotten to know your match and gaining access to their cellphone number.
I have a few tricks up my sleeve that may work for you. Here’s how to know if a person is safe to date online.
Start by simply analyzing their profile
To find information on a potential date, the first and easiest thing you can do (and you should probably do before talking to someone online) is to analyze their online dating profile. To start, look at how descriptive their intentions are on their profile and how clear they are on what they want in a relationship. If their intentions are fuzzy, you may want to avoid dating the person altogether.
You can also analyze their photo and any other clues about them via their profile to check if an online date is safe. If their picture is too perfect, or their “about me” section leaves you feeling like they are more like a robot than a true person, you may want to question who the real person is that created the profile.
Lookup their phone number
Another really good way to find information on a potential date is to perform a reverse phone lookup on them. Before going on a date with someone, you should already have their phone number to begin with. You could use a website like Wyty, which will provide you important information once you enter their phone number such as their full name, age, email, social profiles, relationship status, etc. If your date is lying about important details in their life (such as their age, relationship status, if they are actually catfishing you, etc. this type of report will help you discover their lies).
If you don’t have their phone number...
If a potential date is truly interested in you, there would be (most of the time) willing to give you their phone number. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule. However, most of the time if someone is romantically interested in your they would have no problem giving you their digits.
Online dater and relationship blogger Soon2BeCatLady has plenty of experience when it comes to love and online dating.
"My advice is to make sure you’ve exchanged phone numbers and speak on the phone before meeting up. Give your date’s phone number to a trusted friend along with the meet time and location. Have your location services on your smartphone on and shared with someone you trust. Drive yourself, and stick to the plan for the first couple of dates.
Of course, if you feel the need to dig into the internet, searching their phone number, or reverse-searching their dating photo may help."
Look up your date on social media
Another way to find more information on your potential date would be to try to search them on social media! If you don’t know their full name, you can try to find them several other ways on social media using a few simple tricks.
To start, run a Google Image search on them to see if their profile picture that they use on their dating app or any other picture they have sent you is on a social media profile. Any other place that their photo is linked to on the Internet (including their social media accounts) may pull up in the results.
You can also use this method to ensure that the photos they are using/sending you aren’t stolen from someone else or that they aren’t using a stock photo.
Another method you can use is to try to find your match’s social media profile by entering their phone number into Facebook’s search bar (if you have it). Again, there may be reasons why your match doesn’t want to give you their digits so don’t fret too much if they aren’t ready to give that to you yet.
If you do have their phone number and if the phone number is linked to a person's profile, or even if the phone number is mentioned anywhere on Facebook (such as a post created by the phone number’s owner) that SHOULD pull up in the results.
- Facebook's search bar is an easy tool to use to lookup a match's phone number to see if it is mentioned on or associated with a Facebook profile
- Downloading any of your match's images on a Google image search can also lead you to a social media profile that belongs to them
Look your date up on Google
Besides performing a reverse image search, you can also perform a search for them on Google if you know their full name as well as any other information that you have on them, such as where they work, the city they live in, etc.
Google is a great search engine to look up pretty much anything, you most likely will find information on your match just by typing anything you know about them in Google’s search bar.
Google is a great resource for basic information on a person, however, you may not find extensive information on your online date like you would by looking them up in a directory on Wyty. Earlier we discussed looking up their phone number up using their reverse phone lookup tool, but you can also lookup their name to check if a person is safe to date online. Let’s look into this further.
Lookup your match on Wyty
Similar to performing a reverse phone lookup, you can also lookup your match’s name on online directories such as Wyty. A people search lookup on a potential partner will also help you discover important information on them such as their age, relationship status, emails, etc.
The information you find on a directory such as Wyty is much more extensive than the information you would find by performing a few simple Google searches. So, if you have looked up your online date on Google and still aren’t happy with the amount of information you find, it might be a good idea to give Wyty a try.
Know that your date may also be looking you up
Everyone leaves a digital footprint, you most likely have one and probably even have some embarrassing things that you can find online about yourself that you may not have been aware of.
You can use the same methods as described above to see what is online about you, from performing a search by name lookup on yourself to a reverse image search on Google. Doing these searches will prepare you for anything that your match might bring up when you are on a date or even chatting on the phone.
My final thoughts- trust your gut
Most people would love to know how to find if a person is safe to date, we all know that in the digital age it’s important to keep safety in mind when dating online. Now that you know some information on your match, it’s time to decide if you are still willing to get to know them better. Or perhaps you can’t find any information on them online, that would be a HUGE red flag.
However, you should also enjoy your time spent dating online. Bryan Reeves, Life & Relationship Insight Ninja has some thoughts about enjoying yourself when dating online.
"Stop thinking of dating apps as "dating" apps. Instead, think of them as "meeting" apps, because they're really tools for meeting people. It can help take the pressure off, so you can better relax and enjoy the journey to love."
Enjoying yourself while looking for love IS important- but being able to get familiar with your match immediately will help you not waste your time and will help you enjoy your experience by taking the guessing and worrying away.
You need to trust your gut- even some subtle hints like them hugging another man/woman in a recent profile picture or your match lying about their age will help you decide if you want to trust them or trash them. We hope that this advice helps you as you are looking for love.