The dangers of dating in the digital age

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Looking for a date? There’s an app for that.

In fact, there are several apps, and they make connecting with a potential love interest as easy as “swiping right.”

While using your smartphone as a matchmaker may seem neat, it can also be dangerous. Not all apps and websites conduct criminal background checks, or try to verify your identity.

Geovanni Barbosa told 22News, the person you’re talking to may not be who they say they are. “It can be dangerous because you never know if it’s a pedophile, or someone who has hurt someone in the past, so you’ve really got to be careful and look into their background, and make sure that when you meet them, you’re not by yourself,” he said.

The National Cyber Security Alliance also recommends checking your date’s social media accounts before you agree to meet up, and meeting at a busy location during the day.

Some apps are also taking steps to make the smartphone dating world safer. There’s a new dating app that promises to protect you against criminals. It’s called Gatsby, and it scans your criminal background before you’re allowed to make a profile.

David Houle of Agawam told 22News, he thinks criminal background checks could make smartphone dating much safer. “I think it’s safer for everybody that sounds like a great idea. It takes the worry about who you’re going to meet, who you’re not going to meet, if somebody is setting you up, you don’t know. You could get robbed or hurt,” he said.

According to the Pew Research Center, about 15% of adults in the U.S. either date online, or use mobile dating apps.