Okay, so we've explained what Tinder is and how it works, including the fact that it's used for dating. While dating can be fun and (hopefully) romantically fulfilling, it can sometimes contain hidden threats to your privacy or emotional (or even physical) well-being. That's why it's important to be cautious and vigilant in any dating scenario, especially when the Internet is involved (like it is with Tinder). The following is an assessment of how safe Tinder is, as well as some things to keep in mind while using it in order to avoid potential pitfalls.
How safe is Tinder?
Tinder is about as safe as many other popular generic dating applications and websites. It is designed for speed and efficiency because it focuses on casual and short-term dating, and so may not be hands-on in terms of making safe connections as certain other dating sites, such as eHarmony.com.
On the whole, though, Tinder's safety is largely dependent on how diligently you can follow reasonable precautions when dealing with the people whom you communicate with and take out on dates.
Top 4 Tinder safety tips
1. Protect your personal and financial information.
Never include your social security number, credit card information, or other banking information in your Tinder profile, and never give any of these out to anyone on Tinder who asks for them. Also, if you don't feel comfortable with it, avoid putting any definitive identity information in your Tinder profile, such as your full name, your phone number, your email address, or your home address. Only give this sort of personal information to another person on Tinder when you are comfortable enough with them to take them out on a date.
2. Report Tinder users who behave suspiciously.
There are certain people who may interact with you on Tinder — or send you emails regarding Tinder — who may drop warning signs that they aren't who they say they are, or are otherwise unsafe to deal with. In particular, you should tell Tinder about anyone who:
- asks for your account user name or password
- sends you messages that include links to third-party websites
- insists on meeting you (however briefly) outside of Tinder before you're ready to do so
- asks you for money or donations
- appears with two or more very similar profiles that have different names
- asks for your home address, usually under the guise of wanting to send you gifts
- appears to be under the age of 18 in their profile picture(s)
- sends you threatening or deliberately offensive messages
- behaves inappropriately or appears significantly different when you meet them in person
- sends you messages attempting to sell you a product or service
3. Don't meet another user outside of Tinder until you're ready.
You should never feel pressured to go on a date with another user. Take things at a pace that you're comfortable with, and ask as many questions as you need to in order to feel safe regarding meeting the user in person. You may even want to do your own research into the user's background, based on their profile details. If they're honest and trustworthy, they will understand your need to feel secure. If, in contrast, they get impatient, it may be a sign that they have ulterior motives… or at least that they generally aren't going to be a good fit with you anyway.
4. Take proper precautions when meeting a user on a date.
When you're finally ready to talk with a Tinder user face-to-face in real life, don't completely let your guard down just yet. There are still some steps that you should take to avoid making yourself vulnerable to someone who ends up not being the person whom you thought they were on Tinder. For example:
Never agree to meet your date in a private or isolated location, and especially not at either person's home. Instead, insist on meeting your date in a public place where there are bound to be a fair number of other people around. Your date is less likely to try anything suspicious or rash in a place where someone else might notice or otherwise be able to step in.
Let a close friend or family member know about your date, including where you are going and when you expect to be back. Make sure to have a way to stay in contact with them, such as a mobile phone, in case something comes up.
Never allow your date to pick you up or drop you off. Getting into a car with someone whom you don't know or trust can be dangerous. Instead, arrange your own transportation, which could include driving your own car, taking public transit, or flagging down your own taxi.