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Welcome to Hillsboro's Digital Newsroom! Here you will find Hillsboro's latest news and announcements. If you are a member of the media and need additional assistance, please contact us at 503-681-6100.

Love at First Type - Tips to Protect Your Money and Keep Yourself Safe While Online Dating

When looking for love online keep your safety a priority, avoid being swept off your feet only to land in a financial mess or worse.

Post Date:02/08/2018

Love is in the air.  It's the time of year when people buy flowers, chocolates, and mushy cards expressing their love and affection for one another.Heart Keyboard thumbnail

It's also a time of year when people may go looking for love online.  While many find online dating fun and exciting, and even perhaps eventually find the one without experiencing any problems,…know that you could also get swept off your feet and land in a financial mess or worse put your well-being at risk. 

So, here are a few things to think about if you decide to venture into the online dating world: 

Remember, people can be anything they want to be online...including being quite charming, persuasive and downright deceitful with ill intentions.  We can't count the number of times we've heard from people who've been wooed or had their emotions manipulated by online imposters who were only out to get their money.  These scammers will pay compliments and slowly begin to profess their love for you to draw you in.  Then they'll tell stories about fake health issues or broken down vehicles they can't afford to fix, or they want to come visit you, but don't have money for a ticket.  Never give them money!

Watch for inconsistencies in what they reveal to you.  It could be a sign they are feeding you a false story of who they really are.

Don't overshare.  If and until you get to know this person better, don't tell them your last name, home address, where you work, and other places you frequent.  Keep things general - things you enjoy doing, your occupation, etc.  And resist the temptation to add them as a friend or follow them on social media, at least until you know them a lot better - a lot better does not mean a few texts or emails, and two or three dates.  Revealing the specifics about who you are should be a slow process. 

If you decide to meet, do it in a public place, and somewhere outside your hometown.  There's safety in numbers.  You may not know the other people around you, but they can definitely be your ally should the date go sideways.  They may also deter any inappropriate actions by your date.

Take your phone, and be sure it's fully charged.  Travel light; take only what you need.

Drive yourself to and from the date, at least until you get to know them better, and watch to be sure you're not being followed home.

Let a friend or family member know where you're going to be and what time you expect to be home.  It's also a good idea to let them know the name and phone number of the person you're meeting and dating site you met them on. 

Alcohol lowers your inhibitions and ability to make good decisions.  Enough said.

Never leave your drink (alcohol or other) or personal items unattended.  An opportunistic date might try to slip a drug into your drink that could cause you to experience a memory blackout, risking your safety. 

Have a prepared excuse, in case you feel like you need to leave quickly.  Or pre-plan to have a friend or family member call during your date.  Decide on a key word or phrase that signals all is good or you need help (an excuse) to leave. 

Always, always trust your gut!  If something seems off with your date, they become inappropriate, or you feel like you're in danger, don't be afraid to end your date. 

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