Online Dating: How to Keep Yourself Safe

Online dating can be a great way to meet new people with whom you share common interests; millions of people are engaged in this activity at any given time.  Each year thousands of single persons get married as a result of using an online dating service.  Online dating is generally considered to be a safe way to meet new people; however, one should never neglect personal safety and should always use common sense. In addition to personal safety, one should also consider computer protection.  Choosing an appropriate dating site or service is an important consideration.  One should seek a reputable dating service. Also, friends, family, neighbors and co-workers can also be consulted for any experiences they themselves may want to share.

When contemplating online dating, one should consider the following for personal safety.

  1. Keep your identity safe.   One should avoid giving out personal information such as home address or phone number and place of employment.  This information could be enough to provide easy ways to track who you are, where you live and other valuable and information.
  2. Follow your instincts.  Instincts can often alert one to a situation that just doesn’t “feel” right.  Instincts can also help to determine when is the proper time to continue a relationship or back away.  Although sometimes one may not be sure why a particular person or situation makes he or she feels uneasy, it is important to “listen” to gut instincts. 
  3. Take things are your own pace.  The most compelling features of online dating is being able to take things are one’s own pace.  One should not allow themselves to be or feel rushed during the online dating process.  Relationships should only be continued when both parties are ready.  Do not allow guilt tactics to push you into doing things that are not in your comfort zone.
  4. Look for characteristics.  As two people begin to establish a relationship, even in the very beginnings, pay particular attention to characteristics that may be displayed in email or phone conversations.  Things to look for are controlling statements or actions, angering easily, avoiding questions or topics.
  5. False sense of security.  Online dating services may offer “background checks” when signing up for the service.  Don’t let this catch you off guard.  Laws vary from state to state, and several states cannot perform an effective background check.  Also, keep in mind that just because someone doesn’t have a record, it doesn’t mean that they don’t hold the capacity for criminal activity.
  6. Meet in a public place.  When arranging your first face to face meeting, a public place is best and transportation should be provided independently.  Do not accept to be picked up at your home.  One should also let friends know where you are and whom you will be with, and any other information that can be provided about this person.

By following these guidelines, using common sense and maintaining an awareness of personal safety you can protect yourself from becoming easy prey for someone with less than respectable thoughts.  Online dating can be a safe and rewarding experience.