Your independent source for Harvard news since 1898 | SUBSCRIBE

Your independent source for Harvard news since 1898


If you have a problem connecting to the order form (i.e. "Safari cannot open this page"), you may have an insecure browser connection. Please contact Gretchen Bostrom to complete your order:
617-496-6686. Click here to learn more.

Classifieds FAQs

Classifieds Tips & Advice

Safety Tips for Dating

Safety Tips For Dating

Dipping your foot into the dating pool can be fun. But, it's important to take precautions to be as safe & secure as possible—especially when meeting someone for the first time. These tips are not meant to scare you, but to ensure that your personal safety is foremost in your mind.

Online tips:

  1. Don’t share personal information on first contact. Never give out your full name, home address, personal email address, or phone number to people you do not know. You can get free email accounts from services like Gmail, Outlook.com and many other sources. Choose a username that is generic and does not include any personal information such as your name, birthdate, address, kids’ names, city you live in, etc. See our blog post on how to create a free email address.

  2. Use Google and other online tools to research and vet potential matches.

  3. Protect yourself financially. Never share financial information with people you don’t know. Examples include credit card numbers, bank information, usernames or passwords, or your social security number. Ignore any requests asking you to wire money and report those to us at classifieds@harvard.edu or by calling 617-496-6686.

  4. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Be very cautious of any communication you receive asking you to act immediately, asking for personal information, or sounding too good to be true. Examples may be:
  • Claiming to be from the U.S. but  traveling, living or working abroad
  • Claiming to be very recently widowed, divorced, or separated
  • Asking you for money
  • Talking about “destiny” or “fate” especially on first contact
  • Asking for your address under the guise of sending you a present, flowers or a package
  • Correspondence containing grammar and spelling mistakes
  • Correspondence containing strange links, inappropriate or harassing photos, or inappropriate or harassing language

If you receive suspicious or inappropriate correspondence from any of our advertisers or from someone who has seen your ad, please report those instances to us at classifieds@harvard.edu or call 617-496-6686.

Offline tips for first dates:

  1. Get to know someone a bit before you set up a first date. You can use Google or other search engines to get information on people. If you wish to do a background check on someone before you meet, there are websites that allow you to access that information for a fee.

  2. ALWAYS meet in a public place for your first date. Meet at a restaurant, a museum or another populated, public place. Do not meet in a remote location or at your date’s home or your home.

  3. Tell friends/family about your date. Make family or friends aware of your whereabouts, and make sure you take your phone (and charger) with you in case of emergency.

  4. Don’t overindulge in alcohol/drugs/mind-altering substances. It's best to stay sober, clear headed and in a position where your judgement is not impaired.

  5. Transport yourself to and from the date. Drive yourself to and from your date, take public transportation, have a friend drive you or take a taxi/Uber/Lyft or other ride share option.

  6. Keep your wallet, bag, purse, other personal items near you at all times. Keep your drink with you or finish it if you need to excuse yourself in order to avoid it being tampered with.

  7. Long distance meetings. Stay in a hotel and do not reveal the location to your date. Arrange your own transportation to and from the date and to and from the airport if you are flying to a destination. Make sure your family and friends know where you are.

  8. If you feel uncomfortable or unsafe for any reason, leave the date immediately. If you are at a restaurant, bar, other public venue and are nervous about abruptly leaving, excuse yourself to the restroom and let the staff know about your discomfort/safety concerns so they can assist you in leaving and getting home safely. If you feel you're in a situation where you are in physical danger, contact law enforcement.

Browse Other
Classifieds Sections


If you have a problem connecting to the order form (i.e. "Safari cannot open this page"), you may have an insecure browser connection. Please contact Gretchen Bostrom to complete your order:
617-496-6686. Click here to learn more.

Classifieds FAQ

Classifieds Tips & Advice