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Online Dating Safety

Online dating is rising in popularity thanks to websites such as Match.com and eHarmony. Online dating sites can be a good way to meet new people and start relationships, but as with anything on the Internet, it comes with its risks as well. If you are currently pursuing online relationship or considering doing so, here is a list of tips on how to keep yourself safe.

Guard Personal Information

This is Internet Safety Tip #1, regardless of what you’re doing. Giving away your phone number, home address, full name or even email address can be dangerous. Obviously with online dating you will need to meet up eventually, but be very cautious and do not give too much information. Use the website’s internal email and/or instant messaging applications to communicate until you feel certain the person isn’t dangerous. Exchanging email addresses to set up a meeting place away from your home is usually all you should give to someone until you are able to determine if they are trustworthy enough. Unfortunately, many cases of cyber dating turn into cyber stalking, and it is much easier to terminate an email address than it is to make a new phone number.

Do Not Believe Everything You Read Online

One inherent problem with the Internet is that you can be whatever you want, and usually nobody will be any the wiser. Take everything with a grain of salt. Just because that girl has a photo of a beautiful, athletic, 23-year old brunette with deep brown eyes doesn’t necessarily mean that she’s athletic, 23, a brunette, or even a girl. A prudent action before getting too invested in a relationship is to order a background check. This can help you decide if you want to continue the relationship, and keep you safe. On the flip side, honesty is the best policy when dating online. Be completely truthful with your answers to profile questions and do not try to fabricate hobbies or interests to impress potential suitors. Just as you wouldn’t want to be let down by the brown-eyed brunette, she doesn’t want to be let down either. A dating relationship is about compatibility and trust, and you will definitely not get off on the right foot by lying about anything.

Be Safe When Meeting Up

First dates should be in public. Never agree to go to someone’s house and pick them up, or be picked up from your house. Agree via email or the website’s integrated chat system to have coffee or lunch somewhere public at a time where there will be plenty of people around to see you. Save every email you send and receive from the person you are meeting up with, and tell a friend where to find them should anything go wrong. Tell the same friend where you are going, when you are leaving, and when you expect to be back. Make sure the person you are meeting knows how long you expect the meet up to last. Avoid alcoholic drinks when meeting up. Stick to soda, water, or coffee. Never go home with anyone after your meet up, or invite them to your house. Save that for later in the relationship.

Watch Out For Red Flags

As we said before, people will fabricate personas to attract people and to hide their true agenda. First, second, and even third dates may not always be an accurate representation of who that person really is. Most of the time, people cannot keep up their persona forever, so keep an eye out for any inconsistencies in stories, hobbies, or answers to questions. A change in behavior towards you and others can be indicative of how this person will behave when not in the public eye or trying to impress. Inappropriate or unwanted physical contact such as kissing or hugging, especially accompanied by requests to go to one of your houses or a hotel, is a major red flag. Inconsistencies in basic information such as children, marital status, career, and such like should be cause for concern. Of course the last major red flag is if they are nothing like how they describe themselves in their profile. Having posted an older photo where they didn’t have an extra 10lbs or a different color hair is not usually a cause for concern, but if they show up and are not the height, age, or sex they led you to believe, they may not be using the website for the right purposes. Never be afraid to be overly cautious, and never be afraid to leave if you feel uncomfortable for any reason.

Contac Tim Wilson Investigations if you have questions regarding a background check or other related topics.


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