Our Tips For Date Safely Online.
With so many dating websites available to people with a wide range of lifestyles and interests, the opportunities of meeting like- minded people on line are almost endless. However, the most important thing about on line dating is safety. The very nature of an on-line identity not just offers you the ability to put yourself out there in order to meet lots of new people but also allows others to hide their true identity. Dating safely is critical to your search for love as well as something a little bit naughtier.
To stay safe you need to consider how to ensure your physical safety, how to insure against identity theft and ensure your financial safety is not compromised.
You may think that physical safety doesn’t come into the equation when dating safely on line as you are thinking it is all in the cyber world and until you actually decide to meet someone in person it won’t apply. Actually, from the first words you type into your profile you are identifying yourself and you want to make sure that identity is not going to invite the wrong type of interest. There are plenty of good people on line but there are also predators.
Choose the right site
Firstly, do your research about the dating sites available to you. Read reviews. You want an established, reputable site. If you choose an Australian site you can look up their ABN number and see how long they have been around. If they have been operating for a long time you know they must be doing it right.
There are risks of being defrauded by using websites posing as authentic dating sites. The risks are the potential theft of your money if you do not use a secure link when making payments and having fake profiles where the person you think you have met is actually employed by the site to keep you hanging on and paying money.
Read the fine print. The website should respect your information with regard to confidentiality and not share your information without your consent. It should also give information about how it keeps you safe from abuse such as vetting candidates, reviewing web cams, chats and videos, providing tips on how to use the site and providing a contact number if there is abuse. What are the terms of service of the website e.g. does it allow explicit content?
Does the website suit the type of person you are and does it feature the type of people you are interested in?
Do your research about writing a good profile. Use your search engine to look up articles about how you should write your profile, what to put in it and what to leave out. Most dating sites will have tips about how to write a good profile.
Safety tips here are:
Use a new photo of yourself for your profile. Any photos of yourself that may already have been used on line or in any social networking website can be traced back to those sources to get information about you that you may not want to share with strangers. Don’t use an old photo no matter how much you admire the way you looked.
Either use only your first name or create a screen name just for dating sites. Don’t use your last name as you don’t want to be instantly identifiable.
Consider how you want to project your image on the dating site. Keep your screen name, description, and photo consistent with what you want to say about yourself. If you use a provocative name and photo, expect a provocative response.
Don’t lie about your age, your interests, your personality, your likes or your dislikes.
Keep information about where you live or work out of your profile. This can compromise your safety and allow someone to find you.
Use the dating site’s messaging system. If you want to make contact via email, get a new email address that you use only for dating websites. This can be a free email account eg G Mail or Hotmail but don’t include your name in the email address. Don’t use a social networking account. Only give a mobile phone number, not work or home number, once you are confident that you want to meet in person.
It can be extremely flattering to receive lots of interest on a dating website. Take your time. Start conversations on line to get to know the people who are interested in you and find out about them.
Check to see if they are on other social networking sites. Google has an image search to check the profile photos.
Once you have asked all the questions you want to on line and received consistent, logical answers, then move the conversations to the telephone. Make the calls yourself at a time to suit you. You can block your caller ID until you are certain that you want them to know your number. Be wary of anyone who tells you that they can only speak at certain times or who wants to push the relationship very fast.
Ask about previous relationships and why they broke up. Some people never learn any life lessons from previous break ups and it may be a glimpse of a future relationship.
Make sure from your phone conversations that you both want the same thing from this relationship.
The first date
Common sense tells you that a public place is the best place to have your first meeting. A coffee shop is a great place to meet. You can make the meeting a morning coffee just to see if the person you were expecting really does live up to their profile. If they don’t look like their photo – what else would they be dishonest about?
If you have a friend to go with you it is even better. They can observe from a distance but can come to your aid if necessary.
Otherwise let someone know where, when and who you are meeting and arrange for them to call you half an hour into your date to check on your safety.
Don’t depend on your date to drive you to or from the coffee shop and don’t go anywhere else with them on the first date. There is always time to go on to a lunch next date.
Also don’t leave your food or drink to go to the bathroom.
Ask lots of questions about your date and their lifestyle. If there are inconsistencies or vague answers – be wary. If there are any signs of anger, disrespect, controlling or other unwelcome behaviour – make an excuse and leave. Use your instinct and if you have cause to doubt – leave.
Most dating sites have a feature that allows you to block the person from contacting you if you want communication to stop.
Guard your personal information. There are predators out there who want access to your identity and thereafter your bank account.
Be careful of the information you reveal in email and conversations, even after you meet in person.
Think about the questions you’re answering. Are those questions fishing for security passwords to your online accounts?
Being online makes you accessible. Be wary of emails claiming to be from online dating sites encouraging you to divulge personal information.
Be careful when accessing your account in a public place or on a shared computer so that others can’t view or record your password or personal information.
Update the security software on your computer.
Don’t open email attachments from someone you have only just met.
Do not share pictures or information about yourself, your family or friends that give someone any sort of hold over you. Keep your private life private until you know someone really well and can over time trust them with that information.
Dating Safely Means Financial safety
Unfortunately there are unscrupulous people out there who are only interested in whatever money they can get from you.
Always keep your bank account information private.
Make sure you monitor your online transactions and account balances.
These people might appeal to your better nature to help them out of a sad/disastrous/medical/unfortunate/bad luck situation by sending them money.
Do not send anyone money. Report anything like this to the website. It is a scam. Scammers will try to gain your sympathy by the stories they tell. Unfortunately these scammers will also manipulate your emotions. Stop all contact immediately and report the matter to the dating site.
If someone you are in contact with starts declaring their love for you within a very short time of making contact they could be trying to get right into your life, possibly for all the wrong reasons. Use common sense and tell someone you trust to get advice.
If someone offers you money that is also a scam. The same goes for anyone with a get rich quick scheme.
Some scammers will threaten people with webcam footage or messages that they have managed to get out of users online so be very wary of what you say and show online.
Don’t assume scammers are illiterate foreigners you and others will see through in an instant. They practice at being needy and appealing to someone’s emotions and will tell people what they want to hear. If you suspect that someone you’re talking to may be a scammer, stop your communications and immediately report them to the dating site.
Have any other pointers about dating safely? Please share in the comments below.