According to recent research, online dating is now the most popular way to meet prospective romantic partners. If you’re considering joining a dating site but aren’t sure what to do or what to expect, it’s a good idea to proceed with both an open mind for meeting people and a little precaution.
Online dating safety is a concern, and the U.S. Attorney General’s office has taken a stand to encourage people to exercise caution when searching for a relationship online because of the recent dating scams, especially when online daters misrepresent themselves in order to extract financial favors.
Zoosk, which markets itself as the number one dating app, has put together a few quick tips for online dating safety, so keep them in mind when you begin your own search:
Create an Alias – Create a new username and use a different email account from your main email when signing up for a dating site to protect your privacy.
Stay Online – Don’t give out your personal cell phone number right away, especially if you are feeling pressured. Keep your messages and chats online through the dating site until you meet in-person.
Keep Personal Info Private – Do not share sensitive personal or financial information with someone whom you haven’t met. This includes your last name, address, home or work phone numbers in addition to any financial information.
Go Out in Public – Always choose a public venue for your first few in-person dates, such as a restaurant or coffee shop. Never meet for the first time at your/their home, and don’t arrange to have your date pick you up. Plan to meet each other at a restaurant or other public location instead.
Tell a Friend – Always let a friend or family member know who, when and where you’re meeting for an in-person date with someone you met online.
Here are a few more things to keep in mind when you’re online dating:
Meet sooner rather than later. Many problems for daters occur because they form a virtual relationship with their online match and become emotionally invested before they’ve seen each other face-to-face. Before you get intimate through emails and phone calls, plan to meet each other for coffee in person. Often, a scammer will try to avoid in-person meetings and keep things going online. If your date keeps making excuses for why he can’t get together, then move on.
Keep drinking to a minimum. Some people like to have a glass of wine to loosen up on a date. Keep in mind your tolerance levels. If you get tipsy after a drink or two, you might want to consider not drinking at all. Don’t make yourself vulnerable to your online dates, especially when you don’t know them.