1. Use a dedicated email address, a dedicated phone number and dedicated photos.
Set up a dedicated email address that you use only for online dating. Never use your work or business email. Using a dedicated email address gives you some sort of extra security, especially if the account is hacked you are not at risk of losing any critical business or personal information.
Register a new phone number dedicated to only online dating. At some point in your dating journey you may end exchanging phone numbers. We advise you not to use your business or regular personal numbers.
In your profile, place photos that you only use for dating, and nothing else. This prevents scammers from using your photos to trace your profile back to you and discover additional personal information about you from the Internet.
2. Identity and Personal Information Protection.
Use a username which does not let everyone know who you are. Don’t include your surname or any other identifying information such as your place of work either in your profile or when you first make contact.
Do not use overly sexual, provocative or controversial usernames. These could attract the wrong kind of attention, and most probably the wrong person.
Your contact details should be kept private. Always be and stay in control when it comes to how and when you share information. Don’t include your contact information such as your email address, home address, or phone number in your profile or initial communications. Take things slowly and share more information when you feel comfortable doing so. It is impossible to get back information once you have given it away.
Be alert in your communications. Immediately stop communicating with anyone who attempts to pressure you into providing your personal or financial information or who seems to be trying to trick you into providing it. If this happens contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org(only if you are using kdate.co.ke site). This will not only protect yourself but other users too.
Be careful when accessing your account from a public or shared computer so that others can’t view or record your password or personal information.
Do not open email attachments(including photos) from someone you have only just met, and you personally do not know him.
Ensure that you keep your internet security software up to date.
3. Spend some time to look them up.
If you just met, and you have started exchanging some private chats, its high time you take an extra mile and try to know them. Currently you only know what they said on their profile. Below are some of the things you may want to do so as to gather some more informartion about them.
- Find them on Facebook. Gather as much information you can to reassure yourself that they are who they say they are. Do you have mutual friends? If so, ask your friends about them. How many friends do they have? How authentic are their posts? Are their posts consistent with who they say they are and where they live?
- Find them on LinkedIn and do the same.
- Do a reverse image search on their profile pictures. If you use Chrome as your browser, this is absurdly easy to do: just right-click on the image and choose “Search Google for Image”. If not, just open images.google.com in your browser, click the photo icon and paste in the image you want to search. Many scammers use images stolen from public profiles, and will show up on multiple sites under different names. If they do, stay away!
- Google them! You can often find people simply based on a location, a first name, and some of the basic information they provide on their profile.
- Use some people finder engines like https://pipl.com/ to find them.
- Do it the old-fashioned way: just ask them for some information that you could use to verify that they are who they say they are. If they say they work at your local library, for example, give the library a call and ask to speak to them … it can be that simple!
4. Check on the red lights!
No matter how long you’ve known someone online, you should be on the lookout for any of the following warning signals:
- Someone who says they live locally, but are currently traveling abroad for work or vacation
- Beware of the sob story – someone telling you how much they want to visit you but need a loan to pay for the bus fare/ticket/visas.
- Be wary of stories about a desperately ill family member who needs help with medical expenses.
- The same goes for fantastic too good to be true business deal they are in on – if only they had some extra up-front money….
- Asking you to get off the dating site and communicate via a different chat system
- Early and enthusiastic declarations of love — let’s be realistic, if you met someone in the real world and started saying they loved you after a couple of conversations you’d be suspicious, wouldn’t you?
- Be wary if someone seems vague in their communication about their interests, or may often repeat things or seem disconnected. They may dodge questions or make excuses for not meeting or speaking on the telephone. Their profile or communications may also have odd spelling and grammar.
- Anything that feels a little off kilter — such as getting basic information about your area wrong, as though they were learning about it from the Internet, poor spelling and grammar that isn’t consistent with who they claim to be, using an international phone number, etc.
- Not being willing to meet in person.
- Asking for money or donations.
- Any form of solicitation or spam.
- Asking your address to send you flowers or gifts.
- Asking you for personally identifying information.
5. Meeting in person?
Tell a friend – It is safer if someone knows that you are on your way to meet a stranger. Don’t forget to inform your friend once you have met the stranger. Give your friend the exact location where you have met. Keep the communication with your friend on through out the meeting.
Meet somewhere public – Never meet at his home, or yours. Meet somewhere public, but not noisy.
Keep the meeting short – Keep everything brief. I do not advise meeting for dinner, or having alcoholic drinks. Meet at broad daylight, have a small meal, or whichever way you may like it so long as you stay sober and alert.
In your talks, do not reveal too much of your personal information.
Do not accept to be driven back in his/her private vehicle.