A&E

Stay Safe while Using Dating Apps this Valentine’s Day

by Leah Mize

Netflix’s new original series the Tinder Swindler reveals how multiple women were scammed out of thousands of dollars by Israeli scammer Shimon Hayut. According to Netflix.com, his elaborate scheme involved getting the women he matched with on the app to believe that he was unable to use his credit card for security reasons. From there, he’d manipulate them into opening a line for credit for him to use in their name and then rack up bills, leaving them in immense debt he had no intention of ever paying back. 

Online dating is far from new and while most college students have likely received some form of internet safety tips and tricks, a majority of the most popular apps highly recommend getting familiar with the features before facing a situation in which they’d be useful. 

All of the mentioned apps share similar recommendations for using their apps and meeting up with people they met on the app ranging from ride safety to general advice. Most topically, don’t share financial information of any kind with a match, no matter how trustworthy they might seem. For in-real-life dates, choose public spaces for the first few times, only moving to a private setting, like a match’s home, if it feels right. Additionally, don’t accept a ride from a match if something seems off. 

In order to stay safe while using dating apps, here’s a rundown of safety features sorted be app:

Bumble:

On Bumble, certain content is banned from profiles and conversations such as guns and hate speech, according to their safety webpage

They also have a feature that blurs any sensitive photos so the impact of unwanted and unsolicited nudes is lessened. The platform also offers the ability to video chat or voice call within the app, meaning users don’t need to exchange phone numbers if they don’t want to. 

“I’ve had a good experience with Bumble,” said Katrina Weiss, a junior biology major. “Luckily, I’ve never had to do anything more serious than reporting creepy messages but even then they seemed to take it seriously.” 

For more information check out the Bumble website. 

Hinge:

While Hinge is marketed differently than Bumble or Tinder, it’s still a dating app designed to set up matches. With the free version of Hinge, a user can only send ten likes in a day, meaning the ability to swipe and swipe is gone. The motivating idea is that this improves the quality of profiles on the app, because the types of users prone to racking up matches are put off. 

“I’ve definitely had higher quality conversations on Hinge,” said Juliet Winther, a senior sociology major. “It just has a different feel than the others, I don’t know how to explain it.” 

Check out the webpage for more information. 

Tinder:

On Tinder, all of the safety solutions are going to be found in the Tinder Safety Center. The grouping of features was introduced as part of Tinder’s initiative to make their app safer, according to a May 2021 Business Insider article

If a match sends a message with sensitive language, the app will provide a pop-up to let the user report the message if needed. 

According to the article, Tinder users can opt for a background check to be done on their matches. This can provide users with information to work with as they assess the risks of meeting up with a stranger. 

Contact the Tinder Safety Center for more information. 

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