Ten Essential Online Dating Safety Tips
Online dating is a good way to meet fantastic people who share your interests and passions. Every year, tens of thousands of people get married as a result of meeting on an online dating service. Millions of people are doing it and in general online dating is regarded as a safe medium for meeting potential dates.
Your online dating safety begins with educating yourself on how to improve your experience and be safe doing it. Here are 10 tips to being safe during your online dating experience.
1. Trust Your Gut Instinct: Your instinct is a powerful medium for knowing when something doesn’t feel right. It is also a great way to measure when to move forward with someone and when to turn and run. As you read profiles, responses to emails, have phone conversations, and meet in person your instincts help tell you if something is “right” or if something is out of alignment. The “out of alignment” message is your cue to be careful, back off, or proceed with extreme caution. Trust your gut instinct, it’s the most powerful psychological tool you have at your disposal.
2. Don’t Provide Personal Information Too Soon: Your home phone number and full name provide easy ways to track who you are and where you live. Armed with just your home phone number, a person can easily gain access to your income information, home address, and even learn the value of your home. Armed with your first and last name, a person can do searches to determine quite a bit of information on you – where you work, what you do, and even what your home phone number is. So in the initial stages of communication, guard your personal information. As far as phone communication, see the next tip.
3. Use a Free Email Account: If you decide to move your communication from the anonymous email feature provided by the majority of online dating services then provide an email address that isn’t your regular one. Sign up for a free Yahoo!, Hotmail, or Gmail account that you use just for online dating. Don’t put your full name in the From field – only your first name or something else. This protects you from a person being able to search your normal email address to find out more information about you.
4. Use a Cell Phone or Anonymous Phone Service to Chat: When it’s time to move your communication to the next level (talking on the phone), never give out your home phone number. Either provide a cell phone number, use Skype to communicate, or use an anonymous phone service. It’s just an added protection barrier until you get to know the person better.
5. Beware of Married People: It’s unfortunate, but a lot of married people do use online dating services. They’ll even go as far as to meet people. A few years ago, MSNBC reported that a study found that up to 30% of people using online dating services are married! To help you in determining whether a person is married or not, read the Online Dating Magazine article, “Staying Clear of Married Men.”
6. Look for Questionable Characteristics in Your Communication: As you chat via email and on the phone you may be able to start to pick out characteristics of the other person. Are they controlling? Do they seem to anger easily? Do they avoid some of your questions? These can be questionable characteristics that tell you it’s time to move on.
7. Ask for a Recent Photo: There’s nothing wrong in asking someone if their photos are recent. If they don’t have a photo, request a recent one. It’s important for you to get a good look at the person you may eventually meet. Plus your instincts from your communications and their photos may provide you with valuable insight into the person. Plus, if they tell you the photo is recent and you meet and see a major difference, then you’ll know the person lied and can cut the date short. If a person lies about their photo or profile then that is a red flag to no longer pursue the relationship.
8. Stick With Paid Online Dating Services: Free online dating services provide a greater opportunity for potentially dangerous individuals. They don’t ever have to provide a credit card or other information that identifies them. There is some truth to the saying, “you get what you pay for”.
9. Don’t Get a False Sense of Security: Some online dating services claim to offer “background checks” and when signing up for such a service you may find it easier to let your guard down. Don’t. Laws differ from state-to-state when it comes to background checks and there are even several states where checks can’t be effectively performed. Because of the inconsistency, criminals/wrong doers can and do get into services that do “background checks”. Never let your guard down.
10. Meet in a Public Place for Your First Meeting: When it’s time to schedule that first exciting face-to-face meeting, arrange to meet in a public place and provide your own transportation. Your initial meeting will tell you a lot about the other person, including whether or not he/she lied in their profile. Your gut instincts will kick in. Never accept an offer to be picked up at your house. Make sure that a friend knows where you are at and who you are with.
By following these tips, you’ll help protect yourself from being an easy prey to someone who may have ulterior motives. With an average of 100+ marriages a day from online dating, you can see that the experience can be both safe and rewarding. Keep it safe!
If you do plan on starting to date online you might take a look at these reviews from consumeraffairs.com for the best place to get started.
[…] pressure you into revealing more personal information than you are comfortable with revealing.Online dating can be a fun and certainly a rewarding experience for women of all ages. Maintaining y…ur name, address and phone number to a strange man that you met in a bar or on the street so you […]
Online dating your first meeting should be in a public place. Some people even bring their friends or family members with them. Always let someone else know where you are going, when you should be back, and who you are going to be with.
I completely agree. My children wanted to know where I would be and to call when I got back. I also drove my own car.
I agree with the dating tips 100%. I spoke with someone recently who met someone thru an online dating service for the 1st time. I gave her some dating safety tips. She gave the man her work & personal phone number, and he picked her up at her home. All a bad idea. She chose not to see him again. He relentlessly called both at her home and work, and left nasty notes on her apartment mailbox for the whole building to see. How embarassing!!
Yikes! Really important not to give out personal, private information. Especially home address and contact info. There are some real weirdos out there on those sites. But also some very wonderful people. I met my new (we’ve been married more than 8 years) husband on an online dating site. (My very first post, I put something like, “I can’t believe I’m doing this …. it seems so sort of desperate!” He thought that was funny and responded. We corresponded for months without ever even meeting. I think we both learned a lot about each other through our conversations. When we did finally meet, it was with as many of the safety protocols as possible in place. He was very respectful of my concerns. That helped, too. It also helped for me to attend a charity event with him where I got a chance to meet some of his long-time friends. Another thing to be wary of is a person who is a loner … who doesn’t have any friends. Steer clear of that type of person.
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I look forward to fresh updates and will share this blog
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[…] Be careful about that. Guard your heart. If you are beginning to explore online dating, don’t do it until you read the “Ten Essential Tips for Online Dating Safety”. […]