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A lot has changed in the dating scene over the past few years, as hookup apps and websites become the de-facto method of finding love in our ever-more hectic lifestyles.
Today, linking up with fellow lonely (or perhaps not so lonely) hearts is easier than ever, yet "easier" does not mean "safer". Police continue to warn people about the dangers of online dating, which has presented scammers with a way to fleece victims without even having to meet them face to face. According to Swytch, the creators of a mobile app that allows users to have multiple mobile numbers on their device, dating scams cost victims an average of more than £7,347 in 2015 alone, with crimes linked to dating apps increasing 7% over the past two years.
There are a number of measures those looking for love (or something else) can do to stay safe when on the prowl online, according to Swytch. This includes using a secondary email address for all your dating correspondence, which presumably will ensure anyone who gets too clingy won't be able to max out your inbox with increasingly worrying messages.
Similarly, daters should also use a separate mobile phone or phone number that is just used purely for the purposes of dating. Chris Michael, CEO and Co-Founder of Swytch, said: "It's vital you do everything you can to keep safe. While there's no substitute for your gut feeling, using a temporary mobile number for dating gives you a valuable extra layer of security, whether you're dating online or in the real world."
Of course, some of it boils down to common sense. For example, you should never, ever give out any financial information, and make a sharp exit if the conversation with your potential hookup ever turns to money. You should also be especially cautious regarding what information you share with the other person, and think twice before revealing any sensitive information.
You can view Swytch's top tips for staying safe below. Bottom line: be sensible, be safe and have fun.