It’s always an exciting time when you finally meet someone on an online dating site. After searching through countless profiles you have finally connected with someone. You have been sending emails and messages through the dating site, and things are going well. Eventually you reach the next phase of your relationship: Exchanging phone numbers. It’s a very big move for any relationship but you should always make sure to take some precautions before giving out your phone number.
The challenge with online dating is that you never actually know who the person is on the other end until you meet and continue to explore the relationship. Talking on the phone is the intermediary step between messaging and meeting, and exchanging phone numbers is the likely next step.
Some people give their phone out to everyone and think nothing of it. While you’d like to think that you can trust people, the sad reality is that you have to be careful with so many phishing scams and people trying to take advantage of unsuspecting victims.
When it comes to giving your phone number out, it pays to be careful. We have assembled this guide to help you when it comes to giving out your phone number to someone you met on a dating site.
When to Exchange Phone Numbers?
The most important thing to remember is to not give your phone number out right away when online dating. If you’re using a service like Match or eHarmony then you should go through the steps to meet and communicate with new matches online before jumping to phone calls.
When you have spent enough time chatting online and you feel comfortable taking the next step, it’s time to exchange numbers. Never rush into it, and if the other person is pressing you then be sure to proceed with caution. You wouldn’t just hand your number out to a stranger on the street and so you shouldn’t just give your number out to a total stranger online, either.
After A Reasonable Amount of Chatting Online
How do you know you have chatted enough? The answer varies for each individual. When you feel like you have asked all the questions you needed answers and when you feel comfortable, that’s when you have probably reached the end of your online chatting and are ready for the next step.
Prior to Meeting in Person
Some people wait to talk to someone until they are about to meet. It’s the last step before making plans to meet and it allows you a final chance to ensure that this is the person you want to meet up with.
It’s also a good idea to have a phone number for the other person prior to meeting so that you can give it to a trusted friend to have in case of an emergency.
When You Don’t Plan on Meeting
Some people enjoy chatting with people in chat rooms and they don’t intend to meet. In those cases, switching over to phone conversations would make sense, but it’s all the more reason to be careful. Just because you don’t plan on meeting doesn’t mean that the other person won’t want to take things to the next step. If they say they don’t live in the same city doesn’t mean it doesn’t mean that they can’t show up.
Giving your number to someone in a chat room is a gamble, but if you’re being safe about it then there shouldn’t be a problem.
Ways to Protect Your Phone Number
If you have concerns about giving out your phone number, express it to the person you’re talking with online. See if they will allow you to call first, and hopefully after talking you’ll feel comfortable giving out your phone number. If you’re concerned about asking to not reveal your number, then there are things you can do to be safe.
Using *67 is one of the original ways to block your phone number so if your prospective partner gives you a phone number then you can dial *67 before dialing to keep the call recipient from seeing your number. You can also request that your number be listed as private so when you place a call your name and number don’t show up.
These are great ways to handle initial phone conversations, but they only work in the beginning while you establish whether or not you’re comfortable giving out your number.
Dual Phone Numbers
Many phone companies will now allow you to have two phone numbers for one cell phone. That way you can route business and personal calls to separate numbers. This is a great option for people who want to have a dedicated online dating phone number but also one for personal/business use that goes to well-known people like family members.
The number used for online dating can have your name blocked so that when you call the other party it comes up as “unknown caller” and that way you won’t be giving your personal number out. (This is also really helpful when asked to fill out membership cards or enter drawings)
Burner and Pre-Paid Phones
Burner numbers differ from a second phone line because they’re virtually untraceable. If you want to protect your number and location, a burner phone will give you the added layer of privacy you need. There are also burner phone apps that will scramble your phone when making a call. Look for these in your phone’s app store.
A second option is getting a prepaid phone. While still traceable, having a prepaid phone allows you to buy a cheap second phone, pay for a prepaid no contract plan and have another way to make a call without worrying that your location and identity will be discovered.
Ensure Your “Date” is Not a Scammer
We mentioned at the start of the article that it’s important to proceed with caution because you don’t want to find out that your prospective date is a scammer. The sad truth is that a lot of scammers prey upon people on dating sites because they know they’re looking for love and companionship. They use that as a weapon. They might promise marriage for financial help, or vow to be loyal if you help with some other favor.
Wanting to Talk or Meet Too Quickly
If someone is pushing to meet or talk on the phone too fast, raise a red flag. You should never feel pressured into talking to someone you meet online and anyone pushing you to meet or talk too soon could be after something.
Asking for Something
During the course of your online conversations if the other person starts asking for favors, including money or doing something as a favor, be advised that this is probably a scammer.
Anyone asking for something in the middle of an online dating site shouldn’t be trusted and you should cease communication at once. If you have already exchanged phone numbers, contact the local police and let them know what is going on. There’s a good chance this person has scammed other unsuspecting victims and you can help stop it.
If you are suspicious and you have some back info about them like their phone number, name, etc. You can do a quick search here to see if they are legit.
In the end it’s important to pay attention when you’re using an online dating site. Most people are great, but the small percentage of people taking advantage of others will ruin your experience. Exchanging phone number is a big step and you should make sure you feel safe doing so. If you’re concerned there are a number of ways to protect yourself. Taking these steps now will help to protect yourself later on.