Date Safely Online
So you’ve decided to take that first step and set up your internet dating profile. If you are new to internet dating, you might not be aware of the dangers that lurk online. This is of particular concern for women.
First and foremost, understand that not everyone is online hoping to meet their “soul mate” – many con artists or worse surf the internet in search of finding their next victim. Second, just because you see one or two pictures of someone, doesn’t mean that the person on the other end is who they say they are. Lastly, pick your site carefully. Some are more reputable than others. Talk to your friends about which dating sites they have used. There are many online reviews to aid in this search.
Use Caution Before Providing Personal Details
Now you are almost ready to set up your profile and start meeting singles. Before you start chatting, keep the following safety tips in mind:
- Don’t give your phone number out. Some people are all too eager to chat on the phone after minimal messaging back and forth. Others can be downright pushy. If your gut tells you that someone you are chatting to is getting a bit aggressive, just end the conversation and move on. If you keep comfortable enough to chat on the phone, ask for his number and call him from an anonymous phone number. (You can get your phone company to make your phone number anonymous).
- Be careful not to give out too many personal details. Don’t divulge the specifics of where you work or live. Even if the person you are chatting with seems genuine, you really don’t know anything about them. Telling someone your exact birthday which may seem like a normal question can have dire consequences especially with identify fraud or people being able to track you down.
- Meet somewhere public – just in case. Plan that first meeting somewhere easy like a coffee shop or pub. It’s not a bad idea to have a friend phone you at a pre-set time to check on you either. Also, tell your friend where you are going and that you are meeting someone from the internet.
- Watch out for any inconsistencies or red flags. If your date tells you one thing on the phone and something inconsistent in person, get out of there. Small lies are usually only the tip of the iceberg.
A red flag might be him refusing to send you recent pictures or only calling you after 11pm at night. If it seems like he’s hiding something, he probably is. Don’t get into your date’s car. It’s best to get to know your date a little better before taking that next step and escaping the safety of a public place.
If you are intent on pursuing your internet love interest, it’s a good idea to hire a Private Investigator to run a background check on him. You never know what he could be hiding – a wife, a family, a criminal record – why take the risk?
Internet dating is a modern and fun way to meet singles, if you are aware of the risks. Always take extra precautions when meeting someone from the internet. Meet him in a public place for your first few dates and watch out for any indicators that he might be hiding something. Always trust your gut. And by all means, have your love interest checked out by a qualified Private Investigator before making any plans to move in with or marry your prince charming!