Top Five Online Dating Safety Tips

Just as in traditional dating, online dating does carry with it a few risks. There are always going to be people out there with bad or harmful intentions. While several online dating services have implemented screening and safety measures to weed out some criminals or married people, this is never foolproof, and it is entirely up to the individual to take safety measures into their own hands.

Here are five online dating safety tips that are vital to protecting yourself 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. If you are listed in the phone book, giving out your home phone number is practically the same as giving out your full name and home address. 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 ìRussian Brideî 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 the 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. 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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