Online Dating – First Impressions

You only get one chance to make a good first impression. Not only will you be judged on your appearance, but also on your attitude and personality as well. You should feel excitement at the prospect of meeting your date for the first time. At the same time, feeling nervous too is perfectly normal, as both these feelings go hand-in-hand.

In this modern age of online dating, it’s more nerve-racking than ever before to meet someone in person for the first time. Hopes and dreams are created through the initial conversations you have online. Your expectations are higher than if you met someone in a bar, as you already have a virtual connection with that person, albeit not a physical one.

You may suffer disappointment should your date turn out to be different to the pre-conceived image you had formed in your mind. That being said, the person you meet can sometimes exceed your expectations, or they can grow on you in time and vice-versa. It’s best not to look too far ahead before you meet your date in person. That way, if you do suffer disappointment, it’s not something that you will dwell on for too long.

Make sure the first impression you give is a great one. A first impression is made within the first seven seconds after meeting someone new. When you meet someone for the first time, your date will be making a rapid inventory of your build, smell, height, smile, eye contact, handshake, kiss, confidence and how you present yourself. You will also be making your own inventory of them.

One golden rule is to practice good hygiene. Whilst looks aren’t everything, both men and women are often impressed by a person who appears to take pride in their appearance and by someone who looks after themselves. Make sure you are clean, that you wear your favourite clothes or outfit (but don’t look scruffy), splash on your favourite perfume or aftershave, smile often, keep good posture, make good eye contact with your date and keep your body relaxed. Be kind to your date as well and don’t treat them badly. Whether you end up liking each other or not, you’ve both invested a lot of time and energy into preparing for your date, so don’t be rude and don’t disappear on them.

Most important of all, be yourself. Yes, of course you have to make a big effort and you may be very nervous, but try to relax and show your date what you are really like as a person.

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Scammers, Sob Stories & Scam-Packs

We’ve all had a scammer contact us at some point, right? Whether it be an e-mail at work from someone in Africa or South America asking for money, a phone call from a person trying to sell us double glazing where there ends up being lots of “extras”, or an online dating message from someone telling you how handsome or pretty you are and declaring their undying love for you!

Scammers who contact you through an online dating app will often tell you a sob story to make you feel sorry for them. They usually tell their sob story within your first few message exchanges. They’ll say they’ve lost a family member in a tragic way, or that they have a family member with a terrible illness. They’ll say they need money, to help them pay for medical care or travel costs. THIS IS A SCAM!

Scammers may also take on a false identity. There are examples of scammers pretending to be an old school friend that you haven’t seen for years. They’ll say they always liked you when you were younger and that they would like to meet you again now, romantically, but that they need you to pay for their travel costs for them to come and see you. Often, these people don’t have any photos on their profile. THIS IS A SCAM!

Sometimes, a scammer will have just one photo posted and unsurprisingly, they will look like a model! Don’t be fooled! You can do an image search of your admirer to help determine if they really are who they say they are. You can use “image search services” on “Google” or on “TinEye”.

Unbelievably, Criminals can now purchase scam “packs” containing love letter templates, photos, videos and false identities, for as little as a few dollars on the dark web. So many people fall for the scams that the price of these packs has dropped due to the high volume being sold and due to the demand being so great. Often, the scammer’s messages are missing words and the grammar they use isn’t great. It’s common for them to say, “Hello dear”, or, “I think you could be the love of my life”, or “I need money to help pay for..” Blah blah Blah! Don’t be fooled!

Other than bad spelling and grammar mistakes, you need to be aware of inconsistencies in their stories and others signs that you’re being scammed, such as their camera never working if you want to Skype each other. Also, be cautious when sharing personal photos or videos with prospective partners, especially naked photos, or photos with your children, residence or workplace in the background. Scammers are known to blackmail their targets using compromising material and they can use your photos / videos against you, with the main aim being to swindle more money from your bank account.

You must NEVER give your bank details to anyone, or transfer any money into anyone’s bank account. These are complete strangers. You have never met them and they prey on people’s fantasies and on their desperation to find someone to love. If you come across similar situations, you should block these people and also report them to the helpdesk on your dating app of choice.

One important issue that online dating sites and apps need to improve on is their “vetting process”. More needs to be done – and could be done – to stop scammers from creating online dating profiles.

In a recent study of nine online dating apps by Kaspersky Internet Security, their researchers discovered that four of the nine apps they investigated allow potential criminals to work out who’s hiding behind a nickname, based on data provided by the users themselves. For example, Tinder, Happn and Bumble let anyone see a user’s specified place of work or study. Using this information, it’s possible for scammers to find the user’s social media accounts and discover their real names. BE CAREFUL HOW MUCH INFORMATION YOU PUT ON YOUR PROFILE.

If someone wants to know your location, six of the nine apps studied will lend a hand. Only OkCupid, Bumble and Badoo keep user location data under lock and key. All of the other apps indicate the distance between you and the person you’re chatting to. By moving around and logging data about the distance between the two of you, it’s easy for any scammer or complete WEIRDO to determine a very close location of the “prey” – YOU!! You can usually turn your location tracking / GPS on and off quite easily, so you might not want to keep this on all of the time and just turn it on when you’re actually online looking for people within a certain radius.
If you have provided your account details to a scammer, or sent money to them, contact your bank or financial institution immediately. You should also contact the police and report the scammer to your dating app of choice.