Online Dating Safety Tips

first-dateDating sites are one of the best ways to meet single people in the digital age. But it’s easy to be lulled into a false sense of security when you meet someone online that is attractive and charming. This can be especially true if you meet someone on a site like eHarmony, where you are matched with someone with whom you are supposed to be highly compatible.

But the sad fact is that each year, a small but notable number of people end up meeting untrustworthy or even dangerous people on dating sites.

So how can you protect yourself? Below are some guidelines you should consider following.

1. Always meet in a public place for your first date.
Regardless of how trustworthy an individual may seem to you, you should still exercise caution and only agree to meet with someone in a public place there there are a lot of people. It’s also a good idea to tell friends or family where you are meeting.

2. Arrange your own transportation.
You should have your own transportation to the meeting spot. This gives you the ability to leave early on your own if you feel uncomfortable for whatever reason.

3. Google your date.
Sometimes, you can learn vital things about your date by doing a simple Google search. Sure, it may seem like you’re snooping, but your safety is important, and it’s better to be safe than sorry.

4. Consider running a background check.
If you sense any warning signs about your potential date, you might want to do a background check on them. You can order background checks at any number of online sites, and you will get the results instantly. While not all online background checks are 100% accurate, they should flag anything major, such as criminal records. Some sites like Match.com (which you can try for free here) do background checks on members (Match.com only checks against the sexual offender registry, but does not check for criminal history).

5. Do not give personal or financial information to people until you know them well.
If someone pressures you to reveal certain information or asks for money, those are classic warning signs that you are dealing with a potential scammer. Also, be careful of people who contact you from foreign countries.

6. Do not drink too much alcohol during your first date.
Dating can be stressful, but drinking is not always the best way to calm your nerves. For most people one or two drinks is not a problem, but if you start drinking more than you’re used to, it could make you vulnerable and easier to take advantage of.

Remember to always trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, stop communicating with that person. Should you feel uncomfortable during a meeting, then don’t be afraid to leave early. We are all conditioned to try to be as polite as possible, but when dealing with people you do not yet know very well, it’s always better to be cautious.

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