The places to find a significant other have changed a lot over the years. Thirty years ago people went to clubs. Twenty years ago they went to bars. Ten years ago they went to the supermarket. Today they go to church. And online. And online dating sites aren’t just for the very young, users 55 and up are the fastest growing group of dating site members.
One out of ten people use dating websites to look for a solid relationship or even a soulmate. In the past, the majority of people looked down on online dating sites; today, not so much. Perhaps due to the popularity of social media, online dating is now viewed as a good way to meet people.
That’s the upside. The downside is that it is still a potentially dangerous way to interact with people. How do you know that the person is really who he says he is? One of the newest ways to scam people on the Internet is through is online dating.
Here are some dating tips and tech tools to keep you from being scammed when you date online.
When you put up a profile, you are saying to the world: “This is who I am as a person.” Don’t give too much personal information. Don’t offer your address or phone number before you know the person. When you go through a dating service, use the communication applications it provides and make sure your settings are private.
Online scams include ways to take your money. When you start dating a person, keep all of your credit cards, checkbooks and banking account information stored safely away. Continue this practice throughout the first several months of dating. Be cautious and keep a close eye on your identity.
If you are a regular online dater, you may want to consider a service like Lifelock. It monitors all of your financial accounts for any changes and help you recover anything that is stolen.
Arrange to meet the person at a local, public place, like a coffee shop, with many people around. At no time should you be in an isolated place. The first date should be relatively short to give you an idea of what the person is like. Did her profile match?
Under no circumstances should you meet your date at one of your homes. This should be reserved for several dates into the relationship.
General Safety Precautions
Give a friend or family member the address where you are going and a time that you will be home. Schedule check-in calls. If you are not home by the time specified and haven’t called, then the friend/family member should come and look for you. If you see danger signals, consider having a code word or phrase when you call home. If you call home and use the code, then they know you’re in trouble.
Always take your own car. Don’t get in his car or go for a motorcycle ride. Always have control of your own transportation.
There’s a website resource that gives you more tips and advice and is designated solely to online dating safety.
Trust your instincts. Any warning bells, negative feelings or discomfort, not matter how small, is a signal to walk away.
Online dating can be very successful; you may end up meeting someone who might be your soulmate. Don’t let fear get in the way of meeting good people. Just think of these guidelines as ways to weed out the ones that aren’t “the one.” And keep your privacy safe.