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Online Dating

Man with Laptop on Couch

When moving to a new area or trying to expand your social circle, online socializing sites offer the perfect platform—you’re exposed to hundreds, sometimes thousands, of people and can quickly and conveniently browse through profiles and communicate with different people. Unfortunately, some people use these websites with ill intent.

Using Dating Services Safely

Be careful with your online profile.
When filling out your profile online, don’t give out too much identifying information. Don’t reveal your employer or place of residence. Even the pictures you post may have items in the background that can identify places you’ve been and people you know.
Save emails to make sure the things a person is telling you are consistent.
Hiding behind a computer screen could be the perfect guise for a predator or someone who is looking to scam you. When you are developing an online relationship with someone, make sure to save all of your emails. By keeping records, you can look back and make sure that the things they are telling you remain consistent.
Develop an online relationship first before meeting in person.
Once you feel comfortable enough and are ready to meet someone in person, meet in a public place during the daytime and let someone know where and when you will be meeting.
Consider these tips when you first meet with a person.
Don’t accept a ride from your date.
Watch your drinks and belongings.
Ask for help if you need it. Get the attention of your waiter if things are going poorly and you feel uncomfortable. Don’t worry about offending your date, just worry about your safety.
Keep your cell phone on and with you at all times. It isn’t proper date etiquette to have your phone out during dinner, but make sure it is at least turned on so that you can contact a friend if you need to. This way if you go to a different location, you will be able to let someone know where you are.
Watch out for dating scams.
Online dating scams generally have the same outcome—the scammer forms a bond with you then asks for a favor, whether it be monetary, a plane ticket to come and see you, or for you to invest in a business. Be aware that these scams exist and that scammers treat their scams as an art form.
You never truly know if the person with whom you are communicating is, in fact, who he or she says. Common sense is key. If a person can be in contact only during business hours, chances are he or she has a family at home. Individuals who consistently back out of face-to-face meetings may not be who they say they are. Keep in mind that photographs can be altered and do not verify identity.
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