Dating online is a lot of fun. Used properly, an online dating site can be the gateway to romance. However, as you embark on what could be the adventure of your life, it’s important to do so safely.
Remember you are dealing with strangers
Not everyone online is who they say they are, so apply some caution. It’s perfectly normal to do some preliminary online searches to ensure the person you’re meeting is who he or she says they are. Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter should normally confirm a basic ID check, and a number of sites now offer this function for you. Facebook can be particularly useful if you establish you have a mutual friend in common, who can vouch for him or her.
Never give out personal details online
This can sound tough, when you’re trying to get to know someone. But steer clear of telling a stranger your date of birth, place of birth, and other details which could be used for identity fraud. Remember things like the name of your first pet, or your first ever job may also be used by online banking sites, so be careful about giving specific details to anyone.
Never give money to someone you meet online
This may sound obvious, but online scams trick thousands of people worldwide each year. Never give someone you’ve never met, or only just met, money – no matter the reason. Often scammers will suggest they need the money to come to meet you, or for urgent family reasons. No matter how emotionally tied you feel to the person, remember they are still a stranger. The same applies in the early stages of a relationship. It is not normal for someone you have recently begun a relationship with to ask you for large sums of money. Try to keep your wits about you, no matter how quickly your heart is falling for someone.
Always tell someone where you are going
If you’re going on a date with someone you’ve never met before, make sure to tell a friend or family member your plans. Let that person know where you’re planning on going, and roughly how long you think the date may last. Check in with them when you’ve met your date, and again when you’re home. Nowadays there are a number of tracking apps which allow you to check in at the touch of a button. There are also apps which will transmit your location to a loved one.
Always meet in a public location
Again, this might sound like obvious advice, but it can be easy to get caught up on the romance of a situation, particularly if someone suggests cooking for you, or watching a movie together. Until you have the measure of someone, meet up in busy, public places. Stations are a great spot to meet. Not only are they busy, but they allow you an easy escape if the person turns out to be not who he or she seemed online.
I hope you have found that useful, and wish you good luck in your quest to find someone new.