Personal Safety in Online Dating | Mace® Brand

How to Stay Safe When You’re Looking for That Special Someone Online

If you’re single and looking for a significant other, you’re probably like many people who use dating apps or social media to meet someone new. But when you’re meeting new people online and trying to make a love connection, it’s critical to protect yourself. 

Even though the majority of experiences people have with online dating don’t lead to violence, the reality is that you’re meeting someone new. And while you want to take people at their word and be open-minded, you also can take a few steps to steer clear of danger along the way. 

The good news? The team at Mace® Brand is here with some helpful advice—and the best non-lethal self-defense tools—to help keep you safe.

Don’t count on dating apps to protect you

If you’re using dating apps to find the perfect someone, you are not alone. In 2023, 30% of Americans used online dating services or apps, according to the Pew Research Center. 

Even if dating apps are the way for many people, this approach isn’t without its hazards. A 2023 Time Magazine article indicates online dating apps like Bumble, Hinge, and Tinder don’t conduct background checks, and their user agreements say that users are responsible for their interactions. 

The same Time Magazine article went on to reference a 2019 ProPublica report, where a third of the over 1,200 women surveyed reported being sexually assaulted by someone they met through an online dating platform. Another survey the article mentions found that three in four respondents were subjected to sexual violence facilitated via dating apps in the last five years.

The bottom line: Dating apps are set up for connection—not protection. Your safety is in your hands. 

A quick note on safer dating app usage

If you’re new to dating online, make sure to educate yourself on best practices to avoid cybercrime, identity theft, and other fraudulent activity. To get you started, RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) indicates that safely dating online comes down to a few key does/don’ts:

  • Don’t overshare personal information in your profile or when you communicate with other users.
  • Don’t post live video or imagery that reveals your location. 
  • Do get to know someone you’re interested in by looking around on social media and the internet.
  • Do block and report people who behave suspiciously, ask for financial assistance, or harass you in any way.   

Staying safe when meeting face-to-face

Let’s say you connect with someone online and want to meet in person for a date. Always remember this: Trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right at any point, trust what your brain and body are telling you. Don’t worry about feelings or being rude. Do what you need to do to maintain your boundaries and stay safe.

Here are a few more smart steps you can take to keep yourself safe when going out with someone new:

  • Tell a friend and share your location: Anytime you’re meeting up with someone for the first time, it makes sense to let a friend or family member know what you’re doing. There are also a variety of apps that allow for location sharing. But remember, these apps only share where you are. They don’t help you protect yourself against a threat. 

  • Don’t rely on your date for transportation and meet in public places: Don’t plan on getting a ride from your date or agree to meet at their private residence, especially when you're first dating. Stay out in public and have a transportation plan.

  • Bring your personal safety device: Whether it’s a stun gun, pepper spray, pepper gel, or personal alarm, your weapon won’t do you any good sitting at home. Make sure to carry it everywhere, particularly when you’re meeting up with someone you don’t know well.  

  • Know how to protect yourself: Like any form of self-defense, training is essential. That’s why Mace® Brand offers online training and how-to-videos, so you’re ready when it counts. 

  • Get More Smart Safety Advice

    Explore this collection of articles focused on personal safety from the experts at Mace. We want everyone to be prepared and stay safe out there. 


    Pew Research Center. From Looking for Love to Swiping the Field: Online Dating in the U.S. Published: February 2, 2023. Accessed: February 21, 2024.

    Time. If You’re Looking for Love Online, Here’s What to Know About Dating App Safety. Published: February 17, 2023. Accessed: February 21, 2024.

    RAINN. Tips for Safer Online Dating and Dating App Use. Accessed: February 21, 2024.

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