Law enforcement offers online dating safety tips

Online Dating Safety Tips
Published: Feb. 1, 2022 at 7:25 PM CST
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Dating apps are becoming more and more popular. Even though it may be easier to chat with people, there are still some potential dangers.

With Valentines Day coming up, you may be looking for a date or thinking of taking that next step to meet in person with someone you’ve been chatting with online.

While using apps like Tinder and Bumble are used by millions of people, you want to make sure you’re not putting yourself in a risky situation.

Chippewa Falls Police Chief Matt Kelm says to err on the side of caution if you decided to meet in person with someone you’ve spoken to online before.

He says you should let someone know where you’re going and to meet in a public place for the first few times. Kelm even suggests having a plan with a close friend, like sending an “I’m ok” text can be a good idea.

“Having those preset points of contact, times of contact is a great way to stay safe and it can be done unobtrusively,” Kelm said. “You don’t have to make a big deal out of it, you just check your phone and say yeah I’m ok. That’s a great way especially with online dating because you might not know the person right away.”

When talking online, Kelm says to not give out personal information until you feel safe. He warns scammers and even traffickers might be trying to get you to open up and share details about your life.

“Obviously while there’s some personal information like your name that you might give out, more secure information, certainly your address, that isn’t anything I think people need to know right away.,” Kelm said. Even your phone number may not be something you want to give out right away. So keep that personal information to yourself and if they’re pushy about it, that’s probably not somebody you really want to meet anyway.”

Chief Kelm also suggests checking to see if your phone has a 9-1-1 emergency call setting. For example, iPhones have a feature where if you press the power button five times, it will call the police without you having to dial.

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