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Top 10 Legal Dating Tips When Using Apps

By Brett Snider, Esq. | Updated by Joseph Fawbush, Esq. | Last updated on

Searching for your honey in the buzzing hive of the online world? Online dating can be tough, even dangerous. Or lead to lawsuits. But with some caution, finding that special someone on the internet can also be pretty sweet. And it's fairly common, with a recent Forbes Health survey finding that 3 in 10 people have used a dating app, and of the people who met someone online, almost 70% said it led to an exclusive relationship.

Here are our Top 10 online dating tips to keep you safe:

  1. Beware of misrepresentation. Whether it's fudging on age, weight, or even a very flatteringly angled photo, be prepared that your online sweetheart may be skewing major facts about their appearance or identity. There's a difference between showing yourself in the best light and showing yourself in a false light. But, you generally cannot sue over it, so it's better to try to avoid unpleasant surprises.
  2. Beware of scams. By now most of us have heard of catfishing, an extreme form of online misrepresentation intended to con people out of their money. That doesn't mean we're immune to it. Exercise caution to protect yourself from potential con artists. If they refuse to meet you again and again, or ask for money, that may be a red flag. Honestly, even if they're completely legitimate asking for money is a red flag.
  3. Think twice before using some sites to date. Craigslist may be a perfect forum for picking up a used bookcase. But as some real-life cases have shown, dangerous criminals may be lurking on certain online classified websites or dating apps. This is true regardless of your gender identification or sexual orientation. Not all dating sites are equal, be as picky with them as you are with potential dates.
  4. Be Patient. The takeaway from tips 1-3 is to be careful about what you rush into. Take your time finding the right person for you. Just because it's Valentine's Day doesn't mean you have to swipe right. Trust your instincts.
  5. Don't send information you don't want public. Legitimate online dating sites are generally careful to guard your privacy. But that doesn't mean these websites are immune to security breaches or can control what their users do. If you would hate for an image or certain information to get out to the public, best leave it off of interactions on the site, even in supposedly private chats.
  6. Taking selfies in uniform can get you in trouble. It may be tempting to snap a selfie for your dating profile while in your office or your work uniform. Take a lesson from #copselfies and wait until after work hours. What you do online can get you fired if it violates company policies.
  7. No sexting at work. Maybe you've had success and a new romance is blooming! If so, congratulations. Still, while your new love interest can occupy your thoughts at work, you should probably wait until after work is over before spending any time on online dating sites, particularly if things are getting frisky. Basically, don't sext while at work.
  8. Don't lie. Lying is a poor dating strategy. Not only does it give the impression that you're not dating material, but it may provide fodder for a future divorce case.
  9. Fish in a big pool. Niche sites are great if you have a specific deal breaker (for example, you won't date non-Christians) but getting too specific might leave you with fewer options. Also, they may be lying about being a farmer.
  10. Remember your legal options when harassed. Hopefully, you'll be one of the many people happy with their experience in online dating. If you do get unlucky, however, remember that legal options can help, including getting an order of protection if needed.

Dating can be hard. Fortunately, dating apps can work and help people connect. And even if you haven't found that special someone just yet, you can still have a good Valentine's Day.

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