Meeting new people in a new city can be exciting and fun, but it’s important you feel safe and comfortable.

Often our first instinct is to trust people who we meet and like. There’s nothing wrong with being positive and open, but you also have to be sensible and stay safe.

Here are some ways to keep yourself safe when using online friend and dating websites and apps.

Talking to new people online

If you meet someone online, take the time to get to know them. Ask questions to get to know them. It’s okay to ask questions, and a trustworthy person will expect questions and be happy to answer them. They might ask you questions as well. Avoid sharing too many personal details.

When to add a new friend to your social media

When you meet someone new, wait a while before you add them as a friend on social media. Add them as a friend when you are sure that you know enough about them to trust them.

Find out more information online

It is easy to do a quick online background check. Look up someone’s name on social media, including LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other channels. Check their photo and other information to confirm they are who they say they are.

Your personal or financial information

Limit the amount of personal information you share when you meet someone online. This includes your full name, home address, phone number, where you work and email address. Only share these kinds of details with someone if you feel comfortable you know who you are talking to.

Keep your financial information private. Financial information includes your credit card numbers and bank information.

Meeting someone for the first time in person

When meeting someone new, choose a location in a public space where there are many people nearby. It’s always a good idea to tell a friend or family member of your plans and arrange for them to check in with you to make sure you are okay.

Let’s be friends

Online dating is just one way to meet people and make new connections. Many relationships started out as friendships, and grew into something more. Friendship first is a great way to find out about someone and build trust. There are many ways to make friends in Melbourne.

Feeling uncomfortable or unsafe

If you feel uncomfortable or unsafe and want to leave early, call a friend of family member and ask them to meet you. Always leave if it feels wrong.

Apps to help you stay safe

There are many free apps about safety.  Check the list of safety apps on the Study Melbourne website. If you don’t already have them on your phone, download them today.

How to get home safely

See our top tips for how to get home safely.

Where to find help

There is always help available if you need support. You can speak to:

  • your student support services team at your university or education provider
  • the Study Melbourne Hub
  • Study Melbourne’s Study Well information on Where to get help
  • a counsellor of psychologist
  • a general practitioner (GP) doctor.

In an emergency

If you are in immediate danger or in an emergency, dial triple zero (000). In Australia, you can also dial 112 from mobile phones if you are out of phone network range. You can find out more about what to do in an emergency.