Many people wrongly assume that using an online dating service is the equivalent of throwing in the towel and screaming, “All right already, I’ll do it – I’m desperate!” Actually, online dating is not for the desperate. In fact, research shows that more than 40 million Americans (40 percent of all singles) use online dating services. It has become a very successful way to meet that someone special.
These days you’re in the minority if you don’t know at least one person who met their current husband, wife or partner on an online dating site. According to a recent Match.com survey, one in five people in a new committed relationship and one in six couples married during the last three years met their significant other using an online dating service. Last year alone, twice as many marriages occurred between men and women who met online than took place among couples who met in bars, clubs and at other social events combined.
- 1 Online Dating Safety Tips and Guidelines
- 1.1 Nine Tips to ensure Positive and Safe Online Virtual Dating
- 1.2 Know Safety Nets of Smart Online Chatting and Dating on Social Media Sites
- 1.3 How to Have Secure Online to Offline Meetup
- 1.3.1 Get to know the other person before meeting them offline
- 1.3.2 Always meet in public
- 1.3.3 Stay in a public place
- 1.3.4 Tell a friend
- 1.3.5 Stay Sober
- 1.3.6 Drive yourself to and from the first meeting
- 1.3.7 Keep personal items with you at all times
- 1.3.8 Long Distance Meetings
- 1.3.9 Stay in a hotel
- 1.3.10 Cab Service
- 1.3.11 In Case You Are Regular
- 1.3.12 Keep Loved Ones in Contact
- 1.3.13 I want such article on Email
- 1.4 Recommended By Readers:
Online Dating Safety Tips and Guidelines
If you’ve been considering taking the plunge into Internet dating but aren’t quite sure how to get started, here are:
Nine Tips to ensure Positive and Safe Online Virtual Dating
• Tip #1: If you’re not familiar with technology or unsure what to write on your profile, ask a younger friend, relative or co-worker to help you. Don’t let a lack of familiarity keep you from participating in online dating. Chances are excellent that someone you know already knows the ropes and would be willing to help coach you. Most online dating sites also offer tips to help you get started.
• Tip #2: Be completely honest in your profile and photo. You don’t want to lie about your age, your background or your personality. Not everyone will take this advice, but you don’t want to start a relationship on a lie, and somewhere down the road, others will know that you aren’t what you say you are (or you don’t look like your photo).
• Tip #3: Many online dating sites are tailored to specific interests. These days, there are dating sites for every type of person and interest. For example, BlackPeopleMeet.com appeals to individuals looking for a partner based on racial preference; JDate is a popular place to go for Jewish singles. Others, like SeniorPeopleMeet.com, appeal to people over 50. Browse the Internet and ask your friends: There’s bound to be an online dating site that’s right for you.
• Tip #4: Protect your identity and anonymity. You wouldn’t give personal information out to a stranger over the telephone, so why would you do so over the Internet? It is best to use your first name only during initial conversations and provide more detailed personal information only after you’ve met in person and gotten to know one another well. Legitimate online daters will understand the reasons for doing this and will be doing the same themselves. Also, when you decide to give someone your phone number online, use your cell, rather than your home or work phone. If things don’t work out, cell phone numbers are much easier to change.
• Tip #5: Never provide your last name, address, or other personal or financial information to a person you have not met. And never, under any circumstances, give money to someone you don’t know well and have not met in person. This applies to anyone you meet online, regardless of whether it is within the confines of an Internet dating or other site. Beware of any potential partner who asks you directly for cash, or to cash a money order or check.
• Tip #6: Take your time getting to know someone on-line. Studies show that relationships develop faster online. General advice is to wait at least one week before you meet face-to-face. And, before you meet in person, move the conversation from online to phone. During a phone chat you’ll get a better sense of whether your personalities click. Also, by taking it slow, you are more likely to see inconsistencies in their behaviors and actions.
• Tip #7: When you are ready to meet, arrange to do so in a busy public place, like a coffee shop, bookstore or other retail outlet. Don’t have your date pick you up or drive you home. It’s a good idea to let someone else know your plans, where you’re going, what time, and your date’s name. You can even have a friend drop you off and pick you up from this first in-person meeting. Keep your initial meeting short and if you like the person, there’s always time later for a longer date!
• Tip #8: Listen to your gut not emotions. Online dating is a great way to find people with common interests; however, building a relationship takes time and attention. Look for consistency in behaviors and answers to your questions. Pay attention to early warning signs that someone might not be legitimate or might not be presenting themselves honestly. For example, does he want to know all about you, but seems disinterested or vague in sharing details of his life? Is the telephone number she provides out of service, or is it unable to accept messages for days? Does he or she profess love or devotion within a matter of hours or days? Is he never able to meet you in person, because he is always out of the country?
• Tip #9: Don’t be talked into any action that is not in your best interest. Think before you act. As with anything you do on the Internet, an ounce of prevention is truly worth a pound of cure.
Online dating can be a wonderful way to meet someone special with whom to share your life. Taking the time to do it well and protect yourself is a matter of common sense and the best way to ensure that your online dating experience is safe, satisfying, and successful.
Know Safety Nets of Smart Online Chatting and Dating on Social Media Sites
Don’t post contact information. “You need to own your online presence,” says Michael Kaiser, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance. “Empower yourself to control what you share online.” While engaging in multiple virtual platforms can make you feel like Master of the Internet, it can also leave you vulnerable. “There’s a difference between being cyber savvy and cyber secure,” Kaiser says.
Even if you’ve omitted your phone number, address, and even your personal email address in your dating profile, could it be found on another social media account? Up your security settings across the board, and be aware of apps like Foursquare and Instagram that allow you to post your specific location. If someone is impressed with your dating profile, searches your name on Facebook to find your number, and then sees that you checked into a specific pizza place five minutes ago, your virtual security walls have crumbled.
Be very careful about sharing other personal information, such as your full name, phone number, email and address, in case your are hooking to promote your products or services. You are in control of your online dating experience at all times – remain anonymous until you feel ready. Take advantage of our member-to-member technology that protects your identity until you decide to reveal it through email or IM. Also, leave any personal contact information out of your profile or username. Use extra caution when accessing your account from a public or shared computer so that others are not able to view or record your password or other personal information. If you share your computer with others, disable the auto sign-in feature to your account and clear all saved passwords.
Watch for red flags. Start with the profile picture. Dazzled by your virtual beau’s perfect teeth and glistening eyes? And don’t even get us started on that bathing suit photo. Hate to burst your bubble, but he may be too good to be true. It’s not uncommon for folks to snatch photos of models, celebrities, or just regular people and post them as their own. If you’re suspicious, try a reverse image search via Google Images to see if the photos are posted elsewhere. “Even if they’re not trying to deceive and are maybe just trying to be funny, you got to think: For whatever reason, that person is not being honest about themselves,” says Garth Bruen, security fellow of the Digital Citizens Alliance, a Washington, D.C.-based coalition that promotes Internet safety.
Spy the Behavior
Smartly Look At the Scam Traits. Be wary of communications that ask you to act immediately, offer something that sounds too good to be true, or asks for personal information. There are certain red flags to watch for that may indicate you’re dealing with a scammer. Be aware of anyone who:
Quickly asks to talk or chat on an outside email or messaging service
Claims to be from U.S. but currently travelling, living or working abroad
Asks you for money
Vanishes mysteriously from the site, then reappears under a different name
Talks about “destiny” or “fate”
Claims to be recently widowed
Asks for your address under the guise of sending flowers or gifts
Makes an inordinate amount of grammar and/or spelling errors
Sends you emails containing strange links to third-party websites
If you verify the picture and get to talking, does he ask for money? Is he living or traveling abroad and asking you to send along a package to a friend in the states? If so, you’re likely being prepped for a scam. And while these clues may seem obvious, is it that unusual to do a favor for someone you like? In those early stages of romance, “you want to be accommodating and pleasing to the other person,” says Bruen. “You want to give of yourself with the expectation that you’re going to get something back.”
Block and Report The Unwanted
Block and report suspicious users. You can block and report concerns about any suspicious user anonymously from any profile page, email or IM window. Do not go overboard, if someone asks for sex chat or roleplay and you are not interested simply say NO or Block but do not argue or report such people. Recently false alarms are raised against NOT-SO dangerous online sexchatters, it unnecessarily causes waste of time and efforts for administration and complainant and victim (in this case, who proposed to sexchat, it include girls and guys both – 74% guys and 26% girls).
Asking you for money or donations
Married people or minors using the service
Members sending harassing or offensive emails/IMs
Members behaving inappropriately after meeting in person
Fraudulent registration or profiles
Spam or solicitation, such as invitations to call 1-900 numbers or attempts to sell products or services
Do not call any numbers they ask you to call, mostly they are phishing numbers, looking local but directed to the international scam calls, causing you loss of hundreds dollars per call
Play detective. To gauge their honesty, “ask them a question, and then later ask them the same question in a different way,” says Bruen, who suggests asking where the person went to high school. Similarly, be keen to stories that don’t quite add up, like if she has one job today and another job a week from now. You’re looking for a “string of integrity,” Kaiser says, which is easier to feel out when you’re sharing dinner in person rather than exchanging emails.
You can always use Google to see what you can find out about this person, and you can even get a background check through a private investigator or various online services. But Kaiser warns that a clean background check could lead to a false sense of security. “Background checks only show stuff that they had been caught for,” he says. “If someone is a serial stalker but has never been caught or arrested, a background check won’t tell you that.”
Set Your Targets
Set your expectations. What do you want to get out of all this? Are you looking to meet someone and build a serious relationship—even get married? More interested in a casual fling? Think about what you expect from online dating, and keep that in mind as you engage with possible matches, Bruen suggests. If you want something serious but your beau continually keeps his distance and avoids meeting up, that’s a problem. “In some cases, that person is trying to prep you for a scam,” Bruen says. “In other cases, it’s just an unrealistic, insecure person who is never going to commit to you.”
Believe in Yourself
Trust your intuition. At the end of the day, online dating isn’t that different from offline dating. There are creeps and spammers both on the Web and in real life, and there are good guys, too, Kaiser says. If something feels off, like the pacing, vibe, or language—it probably is. And if you feel like you’re in trouble, you probably are. “If they’re getting harassing texts, emails, or feel like someone is following them, they should seek help as soon as possible,” Kaiser says. Most dating sites have some sort of “report abuse” function, which folks should definitely use if they feel they need to. Beyond that, remember that “stalking is serious and illegal in all 50 states and the District of Columbia,” he says, so don’t hesitate to contact the police.
Meet up safely. If you think you’ve found a good egg and the two of you want to meet up—great. Choose a public place and drive yourself, or plan your own transportation. Don’t get stuck in a situation where you’re relying on a virtual stranger to get you home. Tell friends where you’re going and when you expect to be home, and even consider bringing someone along. A buddy could, say, wait at the bar while you start your date and wait for your signal before leaving. “There’s no shame in protecting yourself, and no one should be embarrassed,” Kaiser says. “If the date is a good, caring person, he’ll say, ‘Hey, smart for you.’
How to Have Secure Online to Offline Meetup
Always avoid such meetups. There is hike of over 30% rape cases by strangers due to social media hook up meets; wherein girls are lured to meet but later drugged to rape. DO NOT MEET ANYONE unless you know his/her background. First meetings are exciting, however, always take precautions and use the following guidelines.
Get to know the other person before meeting them offline
Use the technology on Match.com that protects your anonymity to get to know someone before disclosing personal information or meeting in person. We don’t conduct criminal background checks on our users, so if you would like more information about someone, we recommend using the Internet and government resources available to everyone. This can include typing the person’s name into a search engine, reviewing public information made available by government offices, or using a paid service to obtain a full background report.
Always meet in public
Meet for the first time in a populated, public location – never in a private or remote location, and never at your date’s home or apartment.
Stay in a public place
It is best not to go back to your date’s home or bring them back to yours on the first date. If your date pressures you, end the date and leave at once.
Tell a friend
Inform a friend or family member of your plans and when and where you’re going. If you own a mobile phone, make sure you have it with you.
Keep a clear mind and avoid doing anything that would impair your judgment and cause you to make a decision you could regret.
Drive yourself to and from the first meeting
Just in case things don’t work out, you need to be in control of your own ride – even if you take a taxi.
Keep personal items with you at all times
You don’t want to risk having personal information stolen. If you’re drinking, keep your drink with you at all times so it can’t be tampered with.
Long Distance Meetings
Long distance meetings pose special safety concerns to take into account. Keep these tips in mind.
Stay in a hotel
Check into your own room and avoid staying in the other person’s home. If you can’t afford a hotel, you shouldn’t go.
Use a taxi or rental car to get to and from the airport. Securing your own ride is important. Even if the person you’re meeting volunteers to pick you up from the airport, do not get into a personal vehicle with someone you’ve never met.
In Case You Are Regular
Keep your hotel location confidential. The person you’re meeting should respect your privacy until you know each other.
Keep Loved Ones in Contact
Remember to keep your family and friends posted. Tell someone who you are meeting, where you are going and when you will return.