Be smart when dating online

Valentine’s Day can be a prompt for many to make a fresh start in a search for romance, friendship and love. It’s a day when those who work to ensure dating is as safe as it can possibly release a mix of advice and words of caution.

The Online Dating Association (ODA) is a key player in the collective effort to keep dating safe for everyone.

In publishing the latest Online Dating Association tips for users on having a safe and great dating experience, the Association’s Chief Executive George Kidd said:

“Millions of people across the UK use dating services to find friendship, fun and romance. They are part of our daily life and national fabric. We want that to be a great experience for everyone, and dating services give all kinds of advice and guidance on how to get the most from their services.

“Internet fraud is a challenge across the web, and we realise it has to be addressed when offering services that help people meet online. Every effort is made to block those who post fake profiles and attempt scams, and to get users to think about how to stay safe online, as well as have a great time.

“With up to a third of new relationships starting through dating services there are endless success stories, but some dates may unfortunately work badly for others. I am sure the vast majority of users realise there are some risks in getting to know someone on an app or online and when meeting in person for the very first time. Our aim in working with the police and others is to block those who would cause harm or upset, remove any who do, and prosecute any who deserve that action.”

The ODA, the Police and other agencies such as Action Fraud and GetSafeOnline, who work together as part of the Date Safe working group, always remind users to think and act online as they would in person:

  • Not to “tell all” to someone who is still a stranger to you. To take your time and get to know the person not the profile.
  • To stay on the dating messaging service. Be wary of those who try to get you away from this safer way of messaging.
  • To never, ever respond to requests for money, whatever the sob story told or the sudden declaration of love.
  • If you’ve got a doubt, let others help and guide you. Speak to a friend or family member.
  • Report anyone who is abusive or may be trying to con you to the service and to the police if necessary.

More advice on dating safely can be found here.


  • The Online Dating Association (ODA) was set up in 2013 by industry members who wanted to take a shared responsibility for setting and maintaining standards. The ODA produces an extensive package of advice and guidance for dating services, demonstrating continuing commitment to standards. ODA member sites carry the ODA logo reflecting their commitment to standards and safety of their users. ODA members check profiles, use specialised software and skilled staff to monitor activities and give users advice, guidance and help. Users can check if a service they are using is a member of the ODA here.
  • The Date Safe working group raises awareness of the risks of romance fraud in the UK. The group’s members include Action Fraud and the City of London Police, Get Safe Online, the Metropolitan Police, Age UK, Victim Support, Scamalytics and the Online Dating Association.