With the fast pace of daily life, many people are looking for a more efficient way of doing everything—including dating. More and more people are turning to the internet as a way of meeting prospective partners.
Though online dating may be helpful, it also comes with its own set of risks. Follow these tips to protect yourself while seeking out love online.
1. Avoid Free Dating Sites
While free sites may save you money, they’ll probably cost you time and can even jeopardize your safety. These sites don’t run background checks on individuals to weed out would-be fakers and scammers.
This means you’ll have to sift through endless profiles while trying to use your best judgment as to whether Roger or Michael look like people more interested in stealing your money than stealing your heart.
Also, people who pay for dating services are more likely to be seriously interested in building a relationship, rather than looking for a minimally committed, casual relationship, so if true love is your goal, isn’t that worth a few bucks?
2. Limit the Amount of Information You Provide
Resist the urge to tell your life story, listing everything from your occupation to your first dog named Cuddles. This is not only annoying – it’s also dangerous.
With today’s technology, all anyone needs is something as simple as your home phone number or last name to figure out things like your address and income information. Now’s the chance to play the role you’ve always wanted to: the mysterious temptress.
3. Use an Anonymous E-mail Address
Your best bet is to set up an email account you use solely for internet dating and make sure not to include specific identifying information in the address itself. SoccerFan123 works better than JaneDoefromChicago. For regular mail, set up a P.O. Box.
4. Be Honest
While you don’t want to provide too much information about yourself, you also shouldn’t lie. Don’t set up false expectations by concealing the truth. This will only lead to resentment later. For dating both online and off, honesty is your best policy.
5. Do Your Own Research
Though the paid dating sites run background checks on users, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do one of your own, if not just for peace of mind. See what you can learn about your date from Google.
Many sites also offer an online background check for a fee. These services can search for things like an individual’s marriage records, providing you with even more information about your date before you even meet them.
Obtaining a marriage record could be the key difference between respectfully walking away and becoming the Other Woman. Don’t think this could happen to you?
It has been reported that nearly 1/3 of men found on online dating sites are already married.
6. Scrutinize Dating Profiles
When dating online, the first thing you learn about someone is what they provide on their personal dating profile. Start here to look for obvious signs of fraud. If the profile is too generic or shares little to no information, it’s possible that it’s just an avatar for a scam artist.
7. Meet in a Public Place
When meeting someone for the first time, stick to public places and use your own transportation. This way, you can leave when you want to and the person you’re meeting won’t know your home address. And it’s always good to have an escape plan.
This will come in handy even if your date’s offense is just his insistence on describing his stamp collection. Since this is a no-brainer for safe online dating, you can rest assured that anyone wishing to meet in private for the first time does not have your love and affection as their first priority.
8. Ask for a Recent Photo
Getting a picture of your potential date will help you figure out if you’d like to meet with them. It will also help you figure out whether or not they’re hiding something. Do some research and make sure that the pictures they do provide are not stolen copyrighted material.
It helps to ask for more than one picture to make sure that they are not posing as someone else. Do they refuse to send a picture or repeatedly make excuses not to? Move on.
9. Be Wary of Someone Who Falls Too Quickly
While having someone fall head over heels in love with you may be flattering, remember that you still barely know this person. They may try to gain your trust through flattery, only to abuse it by asking for money or complaining about their dire financial situation.
This is not to say you must live a cynical and loveless existence; you don’t need to practice avoiding anyone who smiles in your direction or says that you look nice for fear that they’re after your wallet. Just be careful and keep your eyes open, no matter how amorous your date appears.
10. Trust Your Gut
If someone makes you uncomfortable or sends up too many red flags, stop communicating with this person. Like in all aspects of life, online dating requires listening to your instincts.
These safety tips are essential for anyone who decides to embark on an online dating journey. For every success, there are multiple failures.
But, if you enter with a safety conscious attitude, your honesty and diligence just might pay off because, hey, it only takes one prince to make weeding through all of those frogs worth the effort.