Hey guys and gals and welcome to my online dating safety tips article! Meeting up with your significant one at a local coffee shop for lunch is ‘So Yesterday’ compared to the new trends in dating.
These days we meet, connect and get romantic with suitable singles (or not so single individuals) through the use of private messages, virtual winks or by filtering out candidates by age, sex, location, self-summary, activities that they like, favorite music or movies, height or even weight.
So popular is online dating that more than 25 million people searched for that particular person in 2011, and that was only in one month.
However, just as how we take precautions when meeting and connecting with someone offline so should we too exercise care when dealing with that potential sweetheart online.
That being said here are some useful tips that you can use to remain safe while engaging in online dating.
Here is another site that talks about online dating safety that I recommend. Let’s get right into my online dating safety advice article!
Online Dating Safety Tips #One – Keep Your Contact Information to Yourself
Take control of the information that you share online. This is especially true for people who use multiple online dating platforms.
Sometimes when you use so many different online platforms, you feel like you “Own” the internet. However, this can put you in a vulnerable position.
There is a major difference between being internet savvy and internet secure. Consider this fact: even if you do not include your address, personal email or contact number in your online dating profile it can still be found via your various social media accounts.
You see if someone looks at what they see on your online dating profile they can search for you by name on Facebook to get your contact number and address.
Not only would they have found your contact number but they can also see which coffee shop you visited in the past hour.
Additionally be mindful of apps such as Instagram and Foursquare that gives you the ability to post your specific location.
Two – Become a Detective
We know that it can be hard to get the truth from a potential love interest online given that communication is mostly conducted via impersonal methods such as emails and instant messages; however, with practice, the truth can be had.
Since you will not have the luxury of looking at the person while they are telling you a story or answering your questions you can attempt to get the truth out of them a different way (or at least spot any holes in their story).
One suggestion is to ask them a question and then ask them the same question in a different way at a later date.
If they are not honest, you can usually tell by differences in answers. Remember how we said to make sure that you adjust the security settings on your social media profiles?
Another way to play detective is to check out someone’s online profile. Use the popular search engine Google to find out as much detail as you possibly can, without becoming a creepy spy.
If you are interested in someone but are concerned about their past, then you could hire a private detective to conduct a background check on them, remember that background checks only reveal what someone has been caught for so a squeaky clean profile doesn’t necessarily mean that they are squeaky clean.
We are not suggesting that you walk around doing background checks on everyone as this can be costly and time-consuming; we are merely saying that if you are interested in one or two individuals but have a feeling that something is off, then you can explore this option.
Three – Trust your Gut Feelings
When all is said and done online dating is no different from dating offline. As good guys exist both offline and online so do creeps.
If something doesn’t feel right then, it probably isn’t. Although we suggested doing backgrounds check if something feels off about a particular love interest, most times (if not all the time) they are not necessary.
Sometimes the gut feeling warning signs are little hints (or withheld) information from their user profile, or it could be weird emails and texts that seem innocent with an eerie undertone.
Whatever the case may be if your gut is telling you to walk away then just cut your losses and move on.
Additionally, if the person is outright offending you merely report them using the site’s “Report” button.
People have found that the paid dating sites such as Match.com, eHarmony, and HowAboutWe.com have less questionable members than the free dating site such as Plenty Of Fish and OkCupid strictly because it costs money.
Now, this does not mean you should avoid all free dating sites and unquestionably go with any paid dating site, but this is just one factor to keep in mind when considering which dating sites to use and how to use them.
Four – Beware of Red Flags
We are sure that most of you have heard the saying that “if it’s too good to be true it probably isn’t.”
There is a reason why this statement is true and has held up for so long.
If you are checking out a profile that looks so amazing: guy/girl of the perfect height, with the ideal body type, wearing the perfect business (or casual) attire or bathing suit, amazingly white teeth, perfect hair and the works, then guess what – it’s probably a fake profile or a picture that has been stolen from someone else.
People steal images of models, celebrities, good-looking friends all the time. Additionally, Photoshop is a powerful tool, and when used correctly everyone looks perfect.
You can check a photo using a Google image search to see where else on the Web the image is posted.
Additionally look out for people who always have a story and want you to send them money or other items. Scammers are everywhere so be careful.
Five – Meet Up Somewhere Safe
So you’ve spent some time getting to know each other through emails and phone conversations, and now you’re ready to take the plunge and meet them in person.
This is the time to be extra cautious in dealing with your potential love interest.
Make sure to go to a public place for your first meeting. If you drive then drive yourself, if you do not drive then arrange your transportation, perhaps you can ask a friend to drive you there.
Make sure your family or close friends know where you are going, who you are going to meet and the expected time that you will be home.
You can even ask them to give you a call at a certain time to check in on you. You can also ask one of your friends to come with you on your date.
There is no shame in taking certain steps to make sure that you are safe when meeting someone for the first time.
If your date is a truly genuine and good person, he/she will not feel bad about you taking these steps to be safe.
Other good resources for online dating safety tips include US News, Match.com, and Huffington Post. For other general dating advice for both men and women, check out dating advice for men and dating tips for women.
Now that you know how to stay safe online, it is time to get out there and start dating.