Red Flags to Look Out For When Dating Online

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When looking for love, it can be hard to know who to trust.

You might be tempted to sign up for an online dating site and start chatting with anyone who seems like a good match. But there are some red flags you should watch out for before you get too involved.

For example, if the person seems too good to be true, or they start asking for money, these could be signs that something is wrong. So how can you protect yourself while dating online?

NOTE: the language in this post refers to women seeking and the “men” to watch out for, primarily because I write from my point of view. However, men are just as likely to be falsely led and scammed.

Tips to help you spot red flags when dating online:

What are some red flags when dating online?

You’ve probably seen the commercials for popular online dating sites that claim they can help you find your “perfect match.” But what if your perfect match is a con artist? 

2021 was a record high for the number of romance scams in the United States. As a result, people have reportedly lost $1.3B, with an average of $2,600 each. And while many victims are hesitant to come forward, the FBI says these scams will only increase. 

You may think you’re too bright to fall for an online scam, but with scammers getting more imaginative and increasing? 

So how can you protect yourself?

Here are some red flags to look out for:

1. One of the most common red flags is when someone is unwilling to meet in person after communicating online. If someone constantly makes excuses or seems reluctant to set up a face-to-face meeting, it may indicate that they are not who they claim to be.

2. Another red flag is when someone asks you to move your communication off the dating site. Your potential love interest may say they want to get to know you better or claim they can’t access the site from their current location. Either way, this is a huge warning sign.

3. If someone you’re talking to online seems too good to be true, they probably are. Be cautious of anyone who showers you with compliments or seems overly interested in your personal life.

4. Another red flag is when someone is unwilling to meet in person after communicating online. If someone constantly makes excuses or seems reluctant to set up a face-to-face meeting, it may indicate that they are not who they claim to be.

Related: 8 of the Best Christian Dating Apps for Single Moms

5. If someone asks for personal information before taking the time to get to know you, be on guard. While it is customary to exchange basic information like names and contact details when first getting in touch with someone, be wary of anyone who asks for sensitive information like your addresses or financial details before getting to know you better.

6. Finally, trust your gut. If at any time you feel that “icky” feeling or think the other person is only interested in a hook-up, trust your intuition. It probably isn’t if something doesn’t feel right about your online relationship. Listen to your intuition and end things if necessary.

How can you protect yourself from these red flags?

Be cautious about sharing too much personal information online, such as your full name or address. If you decide to meet up with someone you’ve met online, be sure to do so in a public place and let a friend or family member know where you’ll be.

Another way to protect yourself from online dating scams is to be aware of the warning signs. If you see any of the red flags mentioned above, it’s best to end the relationship before it gets too serious.

You can also protect yourself by being smart with your personal information. Don’t share your full name or address with someone you’ve just started talking to online; be careful about giving out sensitive information like your children’s names or your income.

Try to meet in person as soon as possible. If the person you’re talking to is reluctant to meet, that’s a major red flag. And if they insist on meeting in a private location, move on.

Finally, trust your gut. If something doesn’t feel right about the person you’re talking to, it’s probably not worth continuing the conversation.

Related: How to Talk on a Date You When You’re Shy

Examples of red flags While Online Dating

Being a good online dater requires being honest about who you are while being open-minded towards meeting new people. This can be a tricky balance to strike, but it is worth striving for. Unfortunately, not everyone takes the same care when crafting their online dating profile.

In particular, there are certain things that men often say that women should watch out for.

When a man says that he is “looking for his queen.” This suggests that he sees women as objects or trophies rather than individuals with unique qualities and interests.

When a man describes himself as “a nice guy.” Nice guys often turn out to be anything but expecting rewards for their supposed kindness without actually doing anything to earn them.

A man who seems overly eager to meet up in person before getting to know you better online. This can signify that he is more interested in your physical appearance than in getting to know you.

He starts bragging about how much money he makes or how successful he is. First, it’s an instant turn-off. No one wants to date someone who is constantly boasting about themselves. Second, it’s a sign that he’s trying to impress you with his material possessions or accomplishments instead of showing you who he really is. Move on if he can’t hold a conversation without talking about himself.

He only talks about himself and doesn’t ask any questions about you. This is another sign that he’s more interested in impressing you than getting to know you. If he can’t be bothered to ask you questions, likely, he doesn’t care about what makes you tick. Move on to someone who does.

He immediately starts asking personal questions that are way too intimate for a first conversation. Things like “What are you looking for in a relationship?” or “How many kids do you want?” are far too premature for someone you’ve just met online if he’s already pushing for commitment before you’ve even had a chance to get to know him.

Related: Dating a Single Mom: What You Need to Know

He won’t stop talking about sex even though you’ve made it clear that you’re not interested in having that conversation just yet. Some guys just don’t know when to quit, but if he’s fixated on sex and won’t take no for an answer, it’s best to move on. He’s clearly not respecting your boundaries and is more interested in getting laid than anything else.

He uses derogatory terms to describe women in general or makes offensive comments about your appearance/weight/etc. This is an instant deal-breaker for most women, and rightly so. If he can’t even see you as a human being worthy of respect, there’s no way it would ever work out between the two of you.

Tips for staying safe while dating online

Every woman should take a few simple safety precautions when dating online.

Be careful about the personal information you share. Don’t give out your address, phone number, or any other identifying information until you’re sure you can trust the person you’re talking to.

Meet in a public place for the first few dates, and to let a friend or family member know where you’ll be and when you expect to be home.

If you have children, do not share any identifying information about them until you’re sure you can trust them.

Remember: if something feels off, it probably is. 

Is it even worth it?

Whether it’s worth it or not is a question only you can answer. 

 If you’re careful about the information you share and take precautions, such as meeting in public and letting someone know where you are, you’ll reduce your chances of encountering danger. If something feels off, trust your gut instinct and move on.

Red Flags to Look Out For When Dating Online