Internet dating safety is a popular subject for the press at the moment. In particular this relates to scammers requesting money from their victims. The truth is as anyone will tell you that has tried internet dating will confirm it can be a great way to meet people that you would otherwise never come across in your day to day social circle. The fact is you probably have a better chance of winning the lottery than coming across a scammer and internet dating offers far more security than you would have dating someone face to face in the real world!
Here are the steps I suggest for keeping you safe and enjoying your online dating experience:
Take Things Slowly
Remaining safe using internet dating in at least one respect is similar to any form of dating – you should always take things slowly taking time to get to know someone one step at a time rather than plunging in at the deepend! Try to bear in mind the old adage “marry in haste and repent at leisure” substituting “marry” with “date” and you won’t go far wrong.
Proceed with caution
Never use your real name when setting up your online profile. Always use the nickname you chose when you joined. Then when you feel the time is right give out your first name and again only reveal your last name when you feel that you know someone well enough to feel confident doing so. Don’t give out your email address at all – with most dating sites there is no need since they have their own secure email system that enables you to send and receive emails and block other members if you want to. During initial communications don’t give out any personal information and don’t be pressured into doing this bearing in mind that someone who pressures you at this stage is likely to have a controlling personality.
Listen with your head as well as your heart
Whilst I’m not suggesting acting like some super sleuth tracking down a criminal it will pay you to listen out for any inconsistencies as and when someone tells you their life story or at least some edited highlights! Only arrange to meet them when you feel you know them well enough to do so without feeling some trepidation.
Establish a rapport
As you chat, you will both need to establish a direct and forthright rapport with each other, in order to establish the trust which is necessary for a face-to-face meeting (this is one of the unique aspects of Internet dating- the foundation of trust is already there before you have even really met, therefore if it all seems to be working out you are several steps ahead of where you would be if you had met in the flesh initially).
Some hard evidence is always good to establish some trust and a deepening of the relationship. Request a photo, and be prepared to reciprocate. It can be daunting to send that photo, but if the goal is to meet eventually then you are going to see each other sooner or later anyway.
Best place for a first date
Finally, when it comes time to meet, make sure it is in a highly visible area, with many other people around. Don’t be too private on the first date- dinner at a restaurant, a movie in a theater- something with plenty of other people around as you get to really know the person.
The truth about internet dating
Internet dating is growing in popularity and can be a great way to find and establish a great relationship. The mantra “there are a lot of weirdos out there” certainly rings true, but the simple fact is that this is also true in “real” life. Exercising some additional caution in Internet dating will ensure that you have safe experiences, although just like in real life they may not always bear fruit.