LoveAbility wants to help you find love and friendship. This process can be fun and exciting, but there are certain safety precautions you should take when discovering any new relationship. Please read the following safety tips and guidelines and put them to practice when meeting new people online or offline. Always remember to trust your instincts. Remember that you are in charge and you should avoid or leave any situation that makes you uncomfortable.
PROTECT YOUR FINANCES
Don’t give any money or financial information to someone you meet online, especially through wire transfers. If somebody asks for you to give or loan them money, it is most likely a scam. These scammers will be convincingly sweet and desperately in need of the money for a good cause (sick child, to come to visit you, etc.), but NEVER EVER GIVE MONEY! Even if you are convinced the person is telling the truth, please do not give or lend them any money. It’s not worth the risk!
Here is an excerpt from the FBI on “Recognizing an Online Dating Scam Artist” (click here to see full article):
Your online “date” may only be interested in your money if he or she:
- Presses you to leave the dating website you met through and to communicate using personal email or instant messaging;
- Professes instant feelings of love;
- Sends you a photograph of himself or herself that looks like something from a glamour magazine;
- Claims to be from the U.S. and is traveling or working overseas;
- Makes plans to visit you but is then unable to do so because of a tragic event;
- and/or Asks for money for a variety of reasons (travel, medical emergencies, hotel bills, hospital bills for child or other relative, visas or other official documents, losses from a financial setback or criminal victimization).
If any Member asks you for money, please do not respond to them and immediately notify us of the situation.
PROTECT YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION
We encourage you to only use your first name and/or your username when first getting to know someone. Do not give anyone any personal information like your home address, place of work, phone number or email address and be wary if someone asks for this information under the guise of sending you flowers or an e-card or something of the sort. Also, be careful not to post any photos or videos that might give away this information. Be wary if they ask for information that is often used for security questions like your mother’s maiden name or your favorite pet growing up. And of course, never share your social security number or any financial information.
We encourage you to communicate only through our Service, using us as a buffer, while you get to know someone, even if you feel a strong connection with them. If, however, after getting to know someone for a long time, you decide to talk on the phone, we recommend becoming familiar with your phone’s privacy settings, like blocking phone numbers. Remember, once you give your private information you can’t take it back.
Please note that LoveAbility will never send you an email asking you for your username and password or your social security number.
REPORT SUSPICIOUS BEHAVIOR
If someone is acting suspiciously or behaving in a way you do not like on the site or on the app, you can anonymously add them to your Blocked List. Please notify us if another user is violating any prohibition of our Code of Conduct or other Terms found in our Terms & Conditions on the website, such as asking for money, trying to sell you a product, harassing you, trolling, or sending inappropriate messages.
Also, be suspicious of someone who:
- repeatedly tries to get you to communicate outside of our service
- someone’s profile is suddenly deleted and then they show up under a different name
- is rushing you to meet in person or is pressuring you to do something you are not ready for or uncomfortable with
- is supposedly from the U.S. but is currently working, traveling or living abroad
- gives vague or inconsistent responses
- has only magazine-like photos of themselves
- wants to be overly close too soon in the relationship, claiming “fate” or “destiny” at an early stage
- is suddenly in a desperate situation and needs your help, particularly asking for financial assistance.
If a member exhibits any of the above behavior or seems suspicious to you in any other way, please notify us through the website’s Contact Us form or email contact@LoveAbility.org.
MEETING IN PERSON
Meeting in person is an exciting step to building a relationship, but don’t let your excitement outweigh your caution in approaching the situation. Please follow these guidelines for at least the first few dates to help keep you safe. Always remember to use your common sense and follow your instincts.
When You’re Ready: Take your time getting to know each other through our Service, using us as a buffer. The “right time” to meet is when you both feel comfortable and feel you have a good basic knowledge and understanding of the other person.
Transportation: Use your own mode of transportation to go to and from the meeting and anywhere in between. This gives you the flexibility to leave when you wish and also keeps the other person from knowing where you live or work. If you ever feel like someone is following you, go directly to the nearest police or fire station and/or call 911.
Location: Choose a public place to meet during a time where plenty of people will be around. Stay in a public place at all times. Even if you feel a strong connection, do not go home with them. It is best to return alone to your known and safe environment.
Tell a Friend: Tell a family member or a friend when, with whom, and where you are going to meet and what time you expect to be home. Agree to notify them if plans change and to notify them when you safely return home.
Stay Sober: Limit alcohol consumption or abstain entirely. It is important to keep a clear mind to better judge situations and to keep safe. Be wary of someone who keeps encouraging you to drink or insists on giving you multiple alcoholic beverages. Be aware that someone may try to take advantage of you in an impaired state and may even try to impair you by adding synthetic substances to your drink. If the person you are meeting with behaves like they are drunk or impaired, you can help them call a friend or a taxi but do not take it upon yourself to take them home. If their behavior makes you uncomfortable or feel unsafe, it is okay to leave without explanation.
Watch Your Belongings: Take a fully charged cell phone with you and keep it on your person at all times. Don’t leave personal items unattended that may contain items with your personal information on them, like your driver’s license, checks, and credit cards.
If in Doubt, Leave: If at any time you feel uncomfortable, uneasy or unsafe, you should leave. You do not have to give an explanation and it does not matter what the other person might think. What matters is trusting your instinct and acting accordingly.
Call For Help: If at any time you or another person are threatened, harassed, attacked or your health is in danger, immediately call 911. If something has happened and you’re in need of help, support or advice pertaining to physical or sexual assault, please call the below hotlines. They are there for you 24 hours a day.
Rape, Abuse and Incest National Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673); www.rainn.org
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233); www.thehotline.org
We hope you find these guidelines useful. Please refer back to them as needed and whenever you consider meeting someone in person. You can always contact us with any concerns.
Now go Find Love and Stay Safe!