Tinder has changed the face of online dating. The process used to consist of hours crafting a detailed profile complete with one’s favorite foods and movies to tap into a network of complex algorithms in order to test for compatibility in connecting with a potential date. This was often followed by days or weeks of correspondence to determine if the date appeared worthwhile to meet for a preliminary coffee date.
Tinder, and similar sites such as Grindr, with their direct interfaces, emphasis over pictures rather than written profiles, seem to encourage users to do away with the complex “getting to know you” rituals of more traditional online dating. GPS compatibility adds to the urge of “meeting up now” rather than conducting due diligence over time on a potential match.
The fact that everyone seems to be using Tinder adds to the pressure to participate. While the majority of Tinder users seem to treat the app as more of a game or diversion as opposed to a dating or hook up site, the fact that “everyone” is on Tinder means that unsavory predators are on it, too. And without you being careful, they can find out your location, your appearance and perhaps even work their way onto your Facebook account.
The fact that Tinder relies on Facebook’s infrastructure to ensure “real people” are being matched with one another gives the dating platform a veneer of safety that could lead to complacency. The fact is that Tinder’s directness makes it a particularly attractive venue for scam artists, which as we’ve blogged about recently, have proliferated throughout the online dating universe.
Here are a few aspects of Tinder that you should consider “Swiping Left” on:
1. Catfish – Fake Facebook accounts can and are easily created for the purpose of Tinder, as this story reports. When engaging with a match, ask a lot of question and be ready to hit the block button if the answers don’t add up.
2. Facebook Friends – Make sure in Tinder’s settings you instruct it to avoid showing you Facebook friends in real life. It’s also a good idea to tighten up all of your Facebook security settings while you’re at it.
3. Con artists – Sex workers, automated bots and con artists looking to exploit Tinder’s location services have all been known to use the service for unsavory and illegal purposes. Again, use the block button if someone seems too good to be true and especially if they are intrusive.
And here are some ideas to “Swipe Right” on to ensure Tinder remains fun, useful and safe:
1. Background check – Keeping a background check app like BeenVerified next to your phone’s Tinder icon can make it extremely convenient to rule out some of the seamy characters listed above.
2. Make your first date in public – Use the same common sense approach you would for traditional or typical online dating. Meet in public, converse online until you’re comfortable and don’t feel rushed to make a connection.
3. Use the block feature – We can’t emphasize this one enough. As so many Tinder users treat the service like a game, it’s a reality that you will run into people with no investment in the service and are simply looking to joke around or even harass people. Use that block button early and often!
We hope the above tips will help you navigate the world of Tinder and similar match sites with ease.
Do you use Tinder? Tell us about your experiences in the comments section.