Tips on swiping safely this Valentine's Day

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - It’s Valentine’s Day, and many are out there looking for love. With today’s technological conveniences, more and more people are turning to dating apps on their phones to help with that. For those people it’s important to swipe safely.

There’s a ton of ways meeting a stranger you met on the internet can go wrong according to Jennifer Brown, development manager at Stand Against Rape Alaska.

If you’re going to meet someone from a dating app, she provided some baseline tips to follow.

“We tell people people not to rely on their date for transportation,” she said, “if you’re going to go somewhere, meet somewhere public.”

She also suggests knowing where the exits are at the location of your date, just in case. If you’re going somewhere to grab drinks with that person, Brown said you should avoid overdoing it.

You should try doing some research about the person you’re thinking about going on a date with before you go according to Brown. She said Alaska is filled with small communities. So you could ask around about a person or, better yet, look them up on Courtview for any criminal red-flags.

Also, Brown notes that someone could be honest about who they are, but might leave out some details like whether or not they have a sexually transmitted disease.

“Ask and have an open, honest conversation about it. Before you get to the heat of the moment,” she said.

Also it goes without saying that you should always be asking for consent before moments like that, and use protection if it goes that far.

However, it’s not always someone who is looking to take advantage of you in that way, but they could be going after your wallet.

Matthew Peters is a cyber security consultant who’s seen his fair share of people get money stolen from them over the internet.

He said a common way people will ‘phish’ someone is by having long conversations and gaining some trust before they say something bad has happened to them.

“Pretty consistently, it’s a medical emergency or it’s, ‘my mom has this medical problem, I have to go travel here so could you give me this small sum of money,’” Peters said.

After that he said they keep asking. He said he’s seen people lose tens of thousands of dollars this way.

Peters warned to never give your personal information to someone you don’t know. If they start to ask questions about that or for money, it’s time to end the conversation.

On a more technical note, he said if you send pictures to someone, smartphones have information about where the photo was taken. This could let someone who isn’t who you think know your location.

He also suggested being aware that the internet isn’t that private of a place.

“You shouldn’t really be putting anything out there that you don’t want your mother to see, because it’s something that can be leaked really at any time,” he said.

If you happen to be the victim of internet related theft, Peters said the FBI in Alaska is exceptional at tracking those people down, and they want to hear about those scams.

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