Online dating has experienced almost an explosion in popularity. Unfortunately, not everyone is ethical or honest. Caution is highly advised, and protecting yourself should top your priority list.
1: Site Reputation
Before joining an online dating site, make every effort to determine the site’s reliability, privacy protection and reputation, especially if fees are required. Not only is your personal information at stake, your credit card is as well.
Determine the website owner through a WHOIS search. Then contact the Better Business Bureau and explore what, if any, complaints have been filed and their resolutions.
Read user reviews. Those posted comments can provide a different picture than the advertisements the organization publishes.
2: Understand Human Nature
Women tend to lie about their appearance. Men tend to lie about occupation, income and then appearance. Be honest, but be aware that the other person may not be. Biographies may be false; photos could belong to someone else.
3: Email Address
If you find a site with which you are reasonably comfortable, do not use the email address provided by your ISP. Get a free email address and use it instead. Use that free email address for all online dating sites, chat rooms and IM conversations.
4: Phone Numbers
If possible, use a separate cell phone for online dating. Pay-per-use phones provide an additional layer of security from those who may disagree with a relationship ending. Never give out your home or work numbers. If using a separate cell phone, don’t give out the number to your main cell phone.
If possible, conduct the first face-to-face meeting via webcam. Most people have them, and repeated denials may compose a warning sign.
6: Don’t Rush
It’s exciting to discover a mutual interest. Be cautious anyway. Never meet for the first time privately or at night. Meet for lunch and bring a friend. Let others know where you’re going and when you’ll get back. Never leave with him or her. Stick to the game plan; your friend is there for a reason.
7: Credit Cards
Most online dating sites allow at least a free trial. Don’t enter while waving your credit information. Get a feel for the site and responses to your profile before you submit a paid membership fee.
When you meet someone for a meal, take cash. Do not use your credit card. It’s easily stolen or the numbers memorized.
8: Safeguard Additional Information
Don’t volunteer employment information. Discuss the type of work you do, but don’t mention the name or identifiable details of where you work. Don’t give names of family or their employment. Some people don’t give out what type of car they drive and use public transportation early in dating.
Don’t give out your home address or neighborhood either.
9: Food or Drink
Never leave your food or drink on the table if you have to step away. Drugs can easily be introduced, and you would never know. Step away only between drinks or when the food has been cleared. If a new drink arrives before your return, thank the person anyway, but you should get your own refill. It may be fine, but it may not be.
10: Departure Time
Tell the other person that you must leave by a designated time. Keep the first few meetings relatively short. If he or she wishes to see you again, you can arrange another meeting. Above all, don’t be cajoled into delaying your departure. The boundaries are safety lines; don’t let them get crossed or obliterated.
- About the Author:
JC Ryan is a freelance writer for MyCollegesandCareers.com.
My Colleges and Careers helps people determine if an online education is right for them and helps them understand which online courses, they can choose from to reach their goals. My Colleges and Careers also provides information on culinary arts schools.
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