EXCLUSIVE: We are women’s safety experts – and THESE are the most surprising dating app red flags YOU need to watch out for
- Joy Farrow and Laura Frombach co-authored Street Smart Safety for Women
- Speaking with DailyMail.com, they shared how to stay safe on dating apps
- The safety experts advised being a ‘flirty detective’ when you meet someone
A pair of women’s safety experts have revealed six surprising red flags to watch out for when you are meeting people on a dating app.
Joy Farrow and Laura Frombach share their tips for trusting your intuition and protecting yourself from predators in their upcoming book, Street Smart Safety for Women: Your Guide to Defensive Living, which will be published in October.
Farrow is a retired deputy sheriff with 28 years of experience in criminal justice, while Frombach is a domestic abuse survivor with a background in technology and engineering.
The co-authors and real-life couple, who have been married for nearly nine years, told DailyMail.com that their book is unique because ‘it’s by women, for women.’
Joy Farrow (left), a retired deputy sheriff, and Laura Frombach (right), a domestic abuse survivor and technologist, have revealed six surprising dating app red flags to watch out for
Farrow and Frombach said they felt a sense of urgency to write a guide on defensive living because many women are still making mistakes that could increase their risk of an attack.
The experts co-authored the book Street Smart Safety for Women: Your Guide to Defensive Living
They want women to stop following societal pressure to be ‘polite’ and start paying attention to their ‘safety intuition’ — one of their greatest protections that they often ignore.
Working in law enforcement, Farrow has had many victims share that they had a bad feeling about a person, but they shrugged it off.
‘Our message is we want you to listen to yourself,’ Frombach said.
The duo dedicated an entire chapter of their book to the perils of modern dating, including a section on dating sites and apps.
Farrow and Frombach explained that they never want a woman to look at a picture, take it at face value, and say, ‘That’s my guy.’
Speaking with DailyMail.com, they detailed the warning signs to look out for when you are getting to know someone on a dating app.
‘Look at dating sites and dating profiles like a crime scene,’ Frombach advised. ‘You be a detective.’
Having unclear pictures or non whatsoever
Farrow and Frombach explained that profile pictures – or a lack of them – can often reveal telling red flags if you know what you are looking for
When it comes to safety, swiping right needs to be about more than physical attraction and shared interests.
Farrow and Frombach explained that profile pictures — or a lack of them — can often reveal telling red flags if you know what you are looking for.
The authors warned that you should watch out for images that are blurry, unclear, or taken from a far distance, which can indicate a person is trying to mislead you about their appearance.
They said you should also be wary of someone who doesn’t have any photos at all.
Frombach recalled how Farrow didn’t have a profile picture when they first started dating because she was in law enforcement, but she was willing to send her one.
‘There may be reasons why somebody doesn’t have a picture, but it had better be a good one,’ she said. ‘And once you see those pictures, every picture tells a story.’
Frombach added that you should check if their photos match what they say about themselves in their bios.
‘If they say they’re family-oriented, are there pictures of their family?’ she said.
Sporting questionable tattoos
Farrow said you should watch out for tattoos with secret meanings, explaining that certain symbols signal gang affiliation, racism, white supremacy, or prison time
Farrow advised keeping your eyes peeled for tattoos with secret meanings.
She explained that certain symbols signal gang affiliation, racism, white supremacy, or prison time.
For example, a small teardrop placed underneath the eye is one of the most widely recognized prison tattoos.
‘If you know what you’re looking for, and you’re looking a little closer at the picture, that’s something that will stick in your head,’ she said.
Farrow added that when in doubt, you should ask the person about their tattoo and see how they respond.
Moving at a fast pace
Farrow and Frombach stressed if someone is moving too fast and pressuring you to exchange personal information before you are ready, that is a red flag
Farrow and Frombach suggested waiting as long as possible before giving your phone number and email address to someone you met on a dating app.
‘We encourage women to spend as much time as they feel like chatting within the app, gaining intelligence, gaining information — and it doesn’t mean that you have to interrogate a person,’ the latter explained. ‘You can be the flirty detective. You can still flirt and gain information.’
The experts said you should always find out if your date is ‘H.O.T.’ — and they don’t physically attractive.
‘Do they have housing? Do they have an occupation? And do they have transportation?’ Frombach asked. ‘Because whatever they don’t have, they’re going to want from you.’
They stressed if someone is moving too fast and pressuring you to exchange personal information before you are ready, that is a red flag.
‘Predators are very good at being charming,’ Frombach said. ‘So it’s important that women honor what they feel, honor what they want, [and] honor the pace that they want to go in — not the pace that their potential date wants to go on.’
‘Even the apps tell you to stay there, don’t give out your personal information,’ Farrow added.
Trying to get you alone
The authors said that you shouldn’t let your date leave with you or get you alone on the first meeting. ‘You don’t know this person,’ Farrow explained
Farrow and Frombach agreed that women need to take charge when it comes to meeting a date for the first time.
‘You want them to leave the computer to see if they’re a real person and this is what they look like. You want them to step out from there and go to a public place,’ the former explained, but you shouldn’t leave yourself vulnerable to a potential predator.
When planning your date, they advised picking a public place that you are familiar with and not letting the other person persuade you to go somewhere else.
‘Never go to meet for a quiet dinner alone somewhere. We’re never going to anyone’s house just yet,’ Farrow said. ‘You’re going to a public place and only a place that you pick.’
The experts stressed that you also don’t want your date to know how you are getting home at the end of the night, saying you should never park in front of your meeting spot or share that you are taking public transportation.
Above all, you shouldn’t let them leave with you — even if they offer to walk you to your car or ride the elevator with you. What may seem like a nice gesture could be a ploy to get you alone.
‘You don’t know this person,’ Farrow said. ‘I don’t care if they said they went to Harvard, or whatever the background is. It doesn’t matter. You just met this person tonight. They do not follow you.’
Not only are you trying to avoid being attacked, but you also don’t want your date to know your license plate number, the make and model of your car, or where you live.
Testing your boundaries
Farrow and Frombach said it’s a red flag when someone won’t ‘take no for an answer’ and tries to cajole you into doing what they want to do
Farrow and Frombach warned against a date who tries to talk you into things — even if they are seemingly innocent — instead of respecting your boundaries.
‘We’ve all been in this situation where it’s the end of the night and you say, “Oh my gosh, I got to go to school, I got to go to work, I got to get up early tomorrow morning.” And they say, “What? Just one more,’ Frombach said.
She noted that it’s a red flag when someone won’t ‘take no for an answer’ and tries to cajole you into doing what they want to do, saying you shouldn’t compromise.
‘The reason that is so important is because you are showing right away whether you can be dominated and controlled,’ she explained. ‘Domination and control is the first step in domestic abuse and domestic violence.’
Insisting on paying the bill
Farrow and Frombach advised splitting the bill until you get to know the person because they may be trying to manipulate you under the guise of generosity
It may be nice to have a date offer to pay the bill at the end of the night, but the experts agreed that you shouldn’t let them.
Farrow and Frombach advised splitting the bill until you get to know the person because they may be trying to manipulate you under the guise of generosity.
If you pay your own portion of the bill, your date can’t say, “Well, you owe me,’ or ‘Well, you know, I did buy you the $200 dinner, right?’ at the end of the night.
‘You don’t want to feel uncomfortable,’ Farrow said. ‘You pay for your own meal.’
Frombach added that you should also watch out for someone who offers to pick up the bill on the condition that you get it the ‘next time.’
‘That means that they’re expecting there will be a next time, and what if you don’t feel comfortable with that?’ she said. ‘You don’t want to owe anybody anything.’
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