Valentine’s Day is almost upon us and millions of people will be purchasing gifts for those they love, and many will be looking for love via numerous dating websites. For my February crime prevention blog, I’m going to provide some safety tips for everyone using these websites, tell you a little about the Hollie Guard App and give a little bit of information on Clare’s Law.
It shouldn’t come as a complete surprise to you, but people online aren’t always who they say they are, so trust your instincts. If something doesn’t seem right, then it likely isn’t.
Here are some tips to help keep you safe:
Don’t disclose private information on online dating sites.
Keep the initial contact on the dating site platform; don’t move onto other social media until you are happy that the person you are talking to appears genuine.
Ask as many questions as possible about the person and don’t rush into a relationship - don’t feel pressured to meet until you are ready.
Never send money to anyone that you are talking to, no matter what their story.
Don’t share any personal images on dating apps or social media sites, because once you press ‘send’ you can never get those images back.
Talk to friends and family about your online relationships, and always tell someone where and when you are meeting someone.
Always arrange to meet in a public place.
Don’t be afraid to get up and leave if things aren’t going well.
If you are drinking alcohol, know your limits and only take a drink that you’ve seen being poured. Never leave a drink unattended!
Ideally have your own transport.
You may have got to know someone online, however, get to know them in the ‘real world’ before inviting them into your home and personal life.
If you haven’t checked out the Hollie Guard App yet, head over to https://hollieguard.com. This free smartphone app can help you feel and stay safe. It turns your mobile phone into an advanced personal safety device, alerting contacts of your whereabouts, recording audio and video of incidents. This excellent app is available for Apple, Android and Windows phones.
Clare’s Law was launched in 2011 to protect potential victims of domestic abuse, following the death of Clare Wood, who was sadly killed by her partner who she had met online.
Under this scheme, police can disclose convictions/non-convictions from domestic abuse related incidents and other verifiable information to which the police have access.
This is a completely confidential service and your partner will never find out that you have asked. By requesting a disclosure you are giving yourself the best opportunity to make the right choice about your future relationship.
You can make a Clare’s Law disclosure online via our website www.cleveland.police.uk, at a police station, by calling 101 or by speaking to an officer where possible.
If you have any information about a crime, contact the police on 101 or you can call CrimeStoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.