With more people looking for love and companionship via online dating websites and apps, the need for caution is also on the rise.
Omaha Police have advised dating app users tell a friend the "four W's" before meeting someone they don't yet know personally:
- who you are going out with
- what you are doing
- where you are going
- what time you will be home
Many of the most popular online dating websites offer similar safety tips for meet-ups, and some go a few steps further.
Eharmony , for example, also suggests you driver yourself to your date and drive home by yourself afterwards, and to stay sober.
Zoosk's Do's & Don'ts list empowers you to leave the date at any point you feel uncomfortable, and to never leave your drink or your personal items unattended. They also have a list of ways to identify scammers who may have infiltrated a dating website or app.
Internet safety blog GetSafeOnline.org includes tips on keeping on protecting your identity while dating online, from choosing a username that doesn't divulge personal information to making sure you're accessing your account from secure computers and devices.
OPD also advises those visiting online dating apps and websites to remember that while some offer verified logins, such as requiring a Facebook account, many sites just require a username and password — so anyone can pretend to be anybody.
Courtney Quinlan with Omaha Love Matchmaking suggests getting to know more information about a potential match on a dating app before meeting them since their photo could come from anywhere. She also suggested meeting in a public place, so you're not secluded, and advised not putting too much information about yourself on a dating app — and avoid sharing too many photos that might reveal personal information.