Online Dating Safety 101

When it comes to dating online, it’s definitely important to strike a balance between enjoying the experience and also being safe. It’s unfortunate that the internet has become such a haven for scam artists, but this doesn’t have to stop you from utilizing online dating sites as long as you do so while keeping these safety tips in mind.

Online dating - keep safety in mind

Choose a Reputable Online Dating Site

Quality online dating sites utilize various security features to protect their members from breaches in their privacy and overall safety. One such feature that is gaining popularity is profile verification. With just a small amount of information, such as a credit card number, sites can verify that all members are legit.

A good site should also have a privacy policy published on their site. Privacy policies ensure that all the information that you post on the site is kept secure and safe from hackers. If no privacy policy is available, you might want to steer clear.

Use your gut instincts when you first peruse a site. If the site appears to be fairly disorganized and lacking in accuracy, chances are it’s lacking in security features as well. Also, watch out for sites that have a lot of advertising and pop ups. This might also indicate a scam.

Write an Intriguing but Safe Profile

When creating your profile, it’s so easy to just start dumping all of your personal information onto your page. Be cautious about what you give out and be sure not to include your last name, address, workplace, phone number, or any other identifying information when corresponding online. Create a username or nickname that doesn’t reveal too much about yourself.

Don’t Give Away Too Much Info

When you make a connection online and start communicating via chat rooms, email, or private message boards, be careful about how much you reveal about yourself to someone right away. Without being so vague that you seem suspicious, be mindful about giving away information like your home or work address to someone you are just getting to know. Scam artists aren’t always so obvious as to ask for your social security number or bank account information. They tend to be a lot more elusive and subtle.

Don’t be in too much of a Rush to Meet in Person

The Supremes had it dead on when they sang “You Can’t Hurry Love.” When it comes to online dating, take it slow - there’s no need to hurry. Take some time to get to know each other over email and on the phone. Look for warning signs like someone who seems to be pushing to meet very early on. Also, someone who wants your number but who is not willing to give out theirs should also raise some red flags. And if every time they call their called ID is blocked, this should be another sign to move forward cautiously. Your instincts, when listened to, are a reliable guidance system in the online dating world. But sometimes when we’re in such a rush to find the perfect person, we can overlook suspicious behavior. Take it slow and keep your wits about you.

Be Ultra Safe When Meeting for the First Time

You can never be too careful when you decide to take your online relationship out into the real world. First off, make sure that a few people in your personal life know you’re going to meet this person and give them the details of the meeting – where, when, and other specifics about the person you’re meeting. Create a reporting system so that you are checking in with someone a few times during the evening. Always meet in a public place and never ask someone to pick you up or drop you off at your home. If possible, have your own car with you so that you can leave if the date does not go well.

Aelicia J. Anderson

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