According to CBC, over 40 million visitors date online in the US and 7 million in Canada.
Although these numbers may seem staggering, there are millions of other still who are hesitant to date online. Why is this? What are the real risks of online dating? How can you keep yourself safe on and offline?
Never Reveal Any Personal Information
The first, and one of the most important rules is to never reveal any personal information, especially on a public profile where anyone with the internet can access it. Personal information of this nature includes real names, addresses, phone numbers, and any other sensitive information, especially banking or financial information. Contact information, like phone numbers and addresses should only be given to people once a certain level of trust and regular communication has been established. To date online safely, protect sensitive personal information that others can use to get access to money, personal files, and so on, and this will help protect your finances, and personal safety.
Meet in a Public Place
Meeting people from online dating sites face to face is also often perceived as quite risky. While there certainly are risks involved with meeting new people, certain safety precautions can, and should, be taken. For example, always meet in a public place, and keep a cell phone with you at all times.
Let a Friend Know
Tell a friend where you’re going, and who with. It’s also a good idea to designate a check in time, where you’ll call a friend to tell them where you are and how things are going, and let them know you’re safe.
Make Sure People Are Who They Say They Are
It’s not unknown for people to add pictures to their profiles that are 10 years old or even of someone other then themselves. Scammers for instance use this trick to avoid being identified.
The good news is that the best dating sites have inbuilt security designed to keep scammers and spammers out thus ensuring you can date online knowing that the likelihood of meeting such people is slim.
In addition the best sites have video chat which is a great way to get to know someone as well as ensuring they are who they say they are so joining a dating site with these features will go a long way to keeping you safe when you date online.
Many people who stay away from dating online do so because of the perceived risks of meeting strangers over the internet. Though there certainly are risks to online dating, proper safety precautions and awareness of risks and strategies can help minimize these risks and make dating online a safe and enjoyable experience.