Avast Shares Safety Tips for Those Looking for Last Minute Valentine’s Day Dates Online

  • Written by MISS.com.au

How to protect one’s online identity when searching for a date and how to spot red flags and deal with unwanted behavior

Avast, a global leader in digital security and privacy, today shares safety tips for those looking for love online ahead of Valentine’s Day. According to a report published by the online dating app Tinder, Valentine’s Day 2021 was among the top swipe activity days of the year. Luis Corrons, Security Evangelist at Avast shares advice on how to stay safe when setting up a dating profile, when searching for and setting up a date, and how to handle a stalker on online dating sites.

“People may go online in search of a last minute Valentine’s Day date, especially given that the pandemic prevented many people from sharing the special day in person with someone last year,” says Luis Corrons, Security Evangelist at Avast. “Online dating platforms make it easy and convenient to find a date quickly, and sometimes even find true love. To keep it fun, it’s important people are aware of how to do so safely.”

How to stay safe when looking for a last minute Valentine’s Day date

Luis Corrons recommends those looking for a connection on February 14th take the following steps, when setting up a profile:

  • * Consider using a nickname on dating platforms, or even a “burner” account that can be used for the sole purpose of finding a date on Valentine’s Day, to avoid being discovered too easily online by potential suitors
  • * Check privacy settings on social media accounts, to make sure they are set to private and do not reveal much personal information, if any at all
  • * Use profile photos with a neutral background that has no identifying features for your location and avoid using photos that include other people

Luis also advises taking the following steps when searching for and setting up a date:

  • * Don’t provide your potential date with too much information, like place of work, hangout spots, and home address, especially before meeting face-to-face
  • * Avoid adding matches on social media
  • * Set up a date in a familiar public place and meet the date directly at the selected location, and share a live location with a friend or family member

What to do if the date goes bad

If a date becomes uncomfortable or the person begins to showing signs of stalking, Luis Corrons recommends the following:

  • * End the date if it feels unsafe, and consider taking a taxi to a local police station if you are worried about your personal safety
  • * Report the person on the app, and block the person on all accounts
  • * If you are in immediate danger, call 000 for Police and Ambulance alternatively you can seek help through 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732). This is a 24 hour national sexual assualt, family and domestic violence counselling line for any Australian who has experienced, or is at risk of, family and domestic violence and/or sexual assault
  • * Individuals can also access local support services and search the internet using Daisy, a free app developed by 1800RESPECT that protects user privacy

“Dating should be an enjoyable experience, but hastily searching for a last minute date can cause people to forget digital security best practices and potentially cloud people’s judgements,” continued Luis Corrons. “It’s therefore important to remind people to protect their digital selves, especially when it crosses over into real world situations.”