We understand that it can be exciting to meet new people. However, you should always be careful when interacting with someone you have never met before. In these types of situations, it is important to prioritize your safety and use your best judgement. This applies whether you are exchanging initial messages, meeting virtually, or meeting in real life. While you cannot always control the actions of others, here are some things you can do to help avoid unnecessary issues.
Protect Your Personal Information
Consider what you choose to include in your profile, which can potentially reveal personal information about you. Think about it this way: if you would not share this information with a stranger in person, then consider keeping it private.
Here are some examples of personal information that should not be shared initially on your profile:
- Your phone number
- Your social security number
- Your home or work address
- Details about your daily routine or places you frequent (e.g. photos of places you typically visit or that you go kayaking every Saturday morning)
- Details about family life and family members (e.g. the names of your children, your parents, or your siblings, where they go to school, or their ages or genders).
Never Share Financial Information or Send Money
Even with trusted people in your life, it is important to avoid sharing your financial information. If someone on BidBid™ is asking you for payment or financial information (like your credit card, bank information, or routing number), you should report it immediately. Even if someone claims to be in an emergency, do not send them money, by wire transfer or otherwise.
Check out these tips from the Federal Trade Commission to avoid such scams.
Your instincts will tell you when a person has crossed the line. For support with safety or help, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (888) 424-3242.
Stay on BidBid™ App
When you are getting to know someone, try to keep your communications within the BidBid™ App. We do not have access to third party communication platforms, such as text, messaging apps, emails, or phone calls.
Protect Your Account
Aside from safety when communicating with people you’ve met on BidBid™, it is equally important that your account stays protected. Use a strong password, and be careful when logging into your account from a public or shared computer.
BidBid™ will never send you an email asking for your username and password information. If you receive an email asking for your account information, assume it is fraudulent and report it immediately.
If you believe your account has been hacked or otherwise compromised, change your password immediately, or pause or delete your account.
Meeting in Real Life
Protect Your Personal Information
To learn how to protect your personal information, including personal, financial, and account information, see above.
Do Some Social Media Detective Work
Before meeting with someone you met on BidBid™, it may be smart to check their social media. This can help ensure that the person you are meeting with is really who they claim to be.
Take Your Time
Do not feel pressured or rushed. Get to know the other person before agreeing to meet them face-to-face or communicate with them outside of the BidBid™ App. Ask targeted questions to screen for any red flags or personal dealbreakers. Additionally, a phone or video call is a great screening tool before the initial in-person meeting.
Meet in Public and Stay in Public
Meeting in public, populated places lowers risk. Being in a place where there are a fair amount of people means there will be ways you can ask for help if necessary, and can lead to less discomfort for you. Especially avoid meeting at your home, the other person’s home, or any other private location. If you feel pressured to go to a private location, end the meeting.
Tell Someone You Trust About Your Plans
Before you set out to meet someone in person, tell a trusted friend, roommate, or family member of your plans. Include who and when you are meeting, where you’re going, and when you expect to be home. Consider sharing the profile of the person you are meeting with the person you trust. You can also share your cell phone’s location with this person.
If you choose to share your cell phone location with your trusted person, be sure that your phone is fully charged and with you at all times during the meeting.
Arrange Your Own Transportation
To ensure your safety, it’s best to be in control of how you get to and from your meeting. Not only does this keep your address private, it also means that you can leave the meeting whenever you want. Have a rideshare app, a friend, or other trusted individual available to pick you up as a backup plan, even if you plan to drive yourself.
There is never any pressure to greet the person you are meeting in any particular way.
Do not feel pressured to drink alcoholic beverages or use drugs. Alcohol or drug consumption can impair your judgement and threaten your safety. Keep an eye on your drink at all times. Additionally, pay attention to where your drink comes from. Only accept drinks poured or served directly from the bartender or server. Many substances that are slipped into drinks to facilitate sexual assault are odorless, colorless, and tasteless. If the person you are meeting pressures you to drink or use drugs, end the meeting and leave. Trust your instincts – you know when someone has crossed the line.
As noted above, keep your cell phone charged and with you at all times. This also applies to your purse, wallet, and other items that may contain personal belongings or information (e.g. ID cards and passports).
It is Okay to Leave Early
If you feel uncomfortable, end the meeting early. Be polite and say that you have to go. Leave money for your food and/or drinks.
Consent is required at all times. Neither party should make assumptions about the other party. Listen to one another and be cognizant of non-verbal communications and queues. All activities must begin with consent and should include periodical check-ins between parties. Keep in mind that consent can be withdrawn at any time. Do not engage in any activity with the other person if they seem uncomfortable or unsure, or if they are unable to consent due to the effects of drugs or alcohol.
Resources for Help, Support, or Advice
You are not alone. It is possible for something to happen to you regardless of how closely you follow the tips above. Unfortunately, there is no way to eliminate all risk. If something happens to you on the BidBid™ App or in person, please report any and all incidents to us immediately. Supplement this by reaching out to any of the resources below. If you feel you are in immediate danger or need emergency assistance, call 911 (U.S. and Canada), or call your local law enforcement agency.
Crisis Text Line: By Text: text Home to 741741 or online.
Cyber Civil Rights Initiative: By phone – 1-844-878-CCRI (2274) or online.
National Domestic Violence Hotline: By phone – 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or 1-800-787-3224 or online.
National Sexual Assault Hotline: By phone –1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or online.
National Sexual Violence Resource Center: By phone – 1-877-739-3895 or online.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: By phone – 1-800-273-8255 or online.
VictimConnect – Crime Victim Resource Center: By phone – 1-855-4VICTIM (855-484-2846) or online.