Looking for Love?
Staying Safe While Seeking Your Sweetheart
Love is in the air. My heart beats only for you. All you need is love.
The time between Christmas and Valentine’s Day are reported by dating sites as the busiest time of year with new memberships surging and men and women searching for love connections.
But, before you go crazy over your crush, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office has some important reminders to help you fall in love safely. We know – having pepper spray in your purse doesn’t sound the least bit loveable – but it could keep you safe on that first date and prevent something dangerous from happening.
Online Dating Safety Tips
- Online admirers may move quickly to try and form a relationship. In the beginning, keep your personal details to a minimum. Do your online research and Google your suitor. Check social media sites for posts and pictures. Scan publicly available websites like the Maricopa County Superior Court. Using Google as your research tool doesn’t make you paranoid, it makes you smart. Don’t forget your date may be doing the same thing, so make sure you don’t have photos posted on social media that show your license plate number or street address.
- Remember the good old days when people talked on the phone? After meeting your Romeo or Juliet online, try dialing up your potential heartthrob and having a conversation before the first date. Video chat using FaceTime or Facebook or sign up for a Google voice phone number, so you can use it for calls and voicemails without having to share your real phone number.
- Don’t judge a book by its cover. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Potential suitors sometimes create idyllic online profiles, which allow perpetrators to be somebody they aren’t, making it easier for them to make victims out of unsuspecting dates. If your new love interest starts bragging about their luxury cars, boats and homes or about how much money they have in the bank, ask more questions and make sure the photos and the stories match. Don’t be so fast to accept Cupid’s arrow.
- Look online for mutual friends through social media apps or clubs/groups they have joined.
- Beware of requests from your online admirers for money and never give out your bank account numbers. If your online interest starts to tug at your heartstrings by sharing sad stories of a lost paycheck or a too-good-to-be-true business venture, take a step back. Be wary of a potential suitor who asks you to wire or loan them money. Don’t let romantic feelings for someone allow your guard to come down. Immediately contact your local police department if something feels like a professional scam.
First Date Safety Tips
- Drive yourself to your first, in-person date. Having your own transportation to and from your rendezvous lowers the risk of you being in an uncomfortable or even dangerous situation.
- Meet your admirer in a public place, especially if this is your first date. A restaurant, shopping center, or anywhere that has a good crowd is an ideal meeting place. And, while you are there, minimize your alcohol intake.
- Tell your friends, family and co-workers where you are going and who you are meeting. This gives you and them the comfort of knowing where you’re supposed to be if something goes wrong.
- Keep your personal information sharing to a minimum during the first date and be on the lookout for premature declarations of love or requests for sexy photos from your crush. Don’t fall too fast until you know who you are falling for.
- When the date ends, if you’re simply not interested, then don’t take their calls, texts or emails. Get off the grid and tell St. Valentine to back off.
According to a 2019 study from Stanford University, Arizona ranks as the 6th most dangerous state for online dating. With more than 40 percent of couples meeting online, you must make sure you are armed with the right resources to keep yourself safe. Trust your instincts and be aware of your online presence when dating, as well as your surroundings on that magical first date. The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office wishes you a sweet and safe Valentine’s Day!