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Top 5 Online Dating Safety Tips

 

Just like traditional dating, online dating carries a few risks with it. There will always be people out there with intentions that are dishonorable. Because of this, it is important to follow some basic online dating safety guidelines in order to make your experience as enjoyable and safe as possible.

Here are five online dating safety tips to help protect you when dating online:

1. Make your email account anonymous.
Use a free email account service like Hotmail or Yahoo! to set up an email account that does not give out any personal information. Do not use your work email address or an address that indicates your full name when communicating with online dating matches. Also, don’t give out your email address too soon. There are some people out there that use online dating services to gather email addresses from innocent singles so that they can send out SPAM messages.

2. Give your cell phone number rather than your home number.
When in the phone call stage of online dating it's important to provide a number that isn't easily traceable (hint: home phone numbers are easily traceable; cell phone and anonymous online phone services are not). With online technology, it is easy to type a home phone number into Google, and, if the number is listed, your name and address will show up along with the phone number. You may be giving out more information than you think you are.

3. Meet in a public place on your first few dates.
A public place guarantees a higher level of security and safety as there will be several witnesses around and your date will not know your home address. It’s also a good idea to tell a friend where you will be and when you will be returning, just in case.

4. Always be weary of anyone asking for money.
If someone you communicate with through an online dating service starts asking you for money before you meet, you can almost guarantee they are scam artists. There are “Russian Bride” agencies out there trying to scam unsuspecting men out of money by having women (sometimes the women don’t even really exist) ask for money from men for flights out to see them, only to disappear after they receive the money. There is no reason that online dating should involve giving money to the other person. If you want to visit Iveta in Slovenia, fly out to see her, don’t blindly give her money.

5. Trust your gut instinct.
If your gut instinct tells you that a guy or girl is not telling you the truth, has bad intentions, or will end up hurting you, listen to that instinct. If you notice any red flags, such as pressing for personal information too soon, insisting to pick you up at your house for the first date, or possessive tendencies even before you meet, think twice about sharing your phone number, email address, or especially home address. Also keep an eye out for someone who may already be married. If they never want you to call, won’t give details about their lifestyle, and try to keep everything secret, there is a possibility that you are dealing with a married person.

Remember that even though some dating sites tout background checks, you have to stay on your guard. People can slip through the background check cracks, so don’t let the criminal and marriage checks give you a false sense of security. Online dating can be a safe and fun way to meet quality singles, but never take anything for granted and always keep your guard up in the beginning.

 

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Kim Lance is the associate publisher of Online Dating Magazine and the editor of the Online Dating Industry Journal.


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