London, United Kingdom, February 10, 2016 --(PR.com
)-- The National Crime Agency (NCA) has this week released figures showing a 450% rise in rape accusations from online dating.
The figures from 2014 show that 184 people reported being raped by someone they met on a dating app or website, which is up from 33 in 2009.
Fears about safety online have always existed and there are statistics like these that act as a reminder about the importance of protecting ourselves.
February 9th is also Safer Internet Day and many continue to put themselves in risky situations, which can be avoided.
A dating and matchmaking company Pink Lobster Dating, founded three years ago, was formed with safety as a number one priority. It features various methods in order to keep its database as secure as possible and has recently added further options to heighten safety for its members, including:
1. Members must upload three different photos of themselves, which they can keep private. The images are all manually and technologically verified before they can see other members’ photos.
2. All monthly members are entitled to a free photo shoot across any one of 100 studios in the UK. This gives them images that they can upload to their profile, with the studio verifying that they are legitimate.
3. One of the reasons why the company now offers a private personal matchmaking service is because many women feared for their safety by going online. All potentials dates are vetted individually, interviewed prior to introductions by the matchmaking team, and online exchanges need not take place.
Here are Pink Lobster Dating’s top tips to stay safe online. There is also further advice on the website’s safety page.
1. If a member’s profile only has 1 image - be careful. They should have more than one as it is more likely they are real. It also helps if the images need to be manually verified before they are allowed to be published. This is because no technical verification is 100% secure.
2. If you can sign up to a site and instantly see all the members and their details, remember that it will be same the other way around. If you don’t mind everyone seeing everything about you that’s fine, otherwise leave the site and go elsewhere.
3. The emails you are receiving need to be personal i.e. if your name is not in it or it has nothing related to you and your profile, start asking questions.
4. Don’t put overtly sexual photos of yourself online as you don’t know where they are going to end up.
5. Do your research before joining any website. Always read the Terms and Conditions as many sites, such as White Label Platforms, will catch you out by saying that they can reuse your profile and photos on other sites that they own or affiliated to (and they could own thousands and thousands of these websites).
6. Be careful what you include in your profile – i.e. don’t make it too personal because you don’t know who is seeing it and your details could be used for other purposes.
7. Don’t speak to someone online for too long, just exchange a few messages before you arrange a date. This way those sites that have fake profiles and messages will not be able to get to you. Also if they are never available to speak or are being funny about it, that is normally a sign that they are not real. At the same time many scammers and dodgy sites will have people or bots messaging you like they are a real person. Sometimes people may even be Skype scammed to retrieve personal details or extortion.
8. Become a social media stalker – most people are on at least one platform. There is nothing wrong with conducting a little pre-date research to make sure the person you’re talking to is the deal real. No internet presence? Avoid.
9. When you go on a date, make sure it is in a public place where others will see you. Importantly, tell someone where you are going and some details of the date, e.g. name, where they are from, the company they work for, username on the site etc.
If you are unsure Do Not risk it… after all there are plenty of genuine people out there.