Stay Safe This Valentine’s Day – MSU Police and Public Safety
As Valentine’s Day approaches, it’s important to practice safety if you’re planning on meeting an online date in person for the first time. Here are some reminders to follow to stay safe after swiping right.
Meet in a public place: Avoid meeting someone in a private place like a house or apartment for your first date. Don’t feel like you have to travel a significant distance and arrange your meeting place in advance. Choose a time of day that you feel most comfortable with. Also, be sure to be responsible for your own transportation, so you can leave at any time if you feel uncomfortable.
Keep an eye on your drink: If you’re meeting your date in person at a restaurant or bar, be sure to watch your drink closely. This will help prevent someone from putting extra in it or putting drugs or alcohol in your cup without you knowing. You can also cover your drink with a napkin. If you suspect someone has put something in your drink, you should immediately tell someone, such as the bartender or waitress.
Wait to share personal information: Always protect yourself and your identity when dating online. Personal information may include your social security number, credit card details, banking information, and business or home address. If someone asks for money even after you’ve talked to them for a long time, don’t feel obligated to give it to them. It could still be a scam.
Tell a friend where you are going: Take a screenshot of your date’s profile and send it to your friend. You can also share the location of the date with your friend so that someone else knows where you are. A great resource to download is the SafeMSU app, one of the main features being the Virtual Friends Walk. This feature allows someone to share their location with a friend in real time so they can track their progress to their destination. The friend can also contact the police immediately if they feel there is a problem.
Research your potential date on other social media sites: Research (or ask for) your potential partner’s other social media accounts. If you manage to find multiple accounts with multiple photos of the person, it could lower your chances of getting caught.
Protect yourself against online extortion: If someone asks you to engage in nudity or sexual activity through an online video, they might be trying to coerce you into sexual exploitation. If this happens, you can end the call immediately and report and block the user.
Avoid logging in with suspicious profiles: If someone you connected with has only one photo or no photos, no social network account connected, and limited information on their profile, the account may be fake. Consider learning more information before meeting in person.
Block and report suspicious users: It is always possible for people to misrepresent themselves. If you think a user is suspicious, you can block them anonymously before or after the match.
Trust your instincts: If at any point you feel unsafe during your date, trust your instincts and don’t hesitate to cut off communication with the person who is putting you in danger. Remember that you can always unlink, report, or block your match after meeting them in person.
If you’re having issues with behavior, sexual assault, or violence in dating or any other time, MSU’s Special Victims Police and Public Safety Unit has resources to help. You’re not alone. A list of resources is available here: http://police.msu.edu/resources/sexual-misconduct-and-relationship-violence/
Additionally, MSU Police and Public Safety can be contacted at any time by dialing 517-355-2221 or 9-1-1 in the event of an emergency.
Dana Whyte, MSU Communications Manager, Policing and Public Safety
517-282-3711, [email protected]
Inspector Chris Rozman, MSU Public Information Officer, Police and Public Safety
517-432-7940, [email protected]