Safety in Online Dating
It is very important to maintain your safety when dating online. The following are some guidelines to keep you safe.
Start Slow – Pay attention to what the other person is saying. They may not be who they say they are and you will be able to see the inconsistencies, so trust your gut. If it seems like they are too good to be true, they probably are. Start out by emailing only through the dating service and not your personal email.
Stay Anonymous – Don’t use personal information such as your last name, real email address, personal website, home address, phone number, workplace or anything else that someone could use to identify you. Only use the dating service email. If someone is pushing for more personal information, stop communicating with them, and if you need to report them to the dating site administrators.
Use Caution & Common Sense – Anyone you communicate with needs to earn your trust gradually by having been consistently honorable and forthright. If they are a trustworthy person then they will agree with building trust slowly for their own safety as well as yours.
Request a Photo – This will give you an idea about what they look like and if there is attraction there. If they keep giving excuses as to why they can’t show a picture take note. They may have something to hide.
Talk On The Phone – Once you have established trust with someone, talking to them on the phone can tell you a lot about the way they communicate. However, don’t give out your home phone number until you are completely comfortable with this person. Give a cell phone number, or call them from a pay phone so they cannot get your address from that information.
Meet When YOU Are Ready – The best part of meeting someone online is that you can get information slowly and then make an educated choice about pursuing it in real life. When you do arrange a meeting it is ok to change your mind if something feels off. If you choose to keep it anonymous, it could be a feeling that you can’t explain. Trust your instincts, even when you can’t explain why you feel that way.
Look for Red Flags – Watch the conversations for displays of anger, extreme frustration or attempts at controlling you. You should be concerned if they give you inconsistent information about age, marital status, employment, etc. If they refuse to answer direct questions directly, they may be trying to hide something.
Meet in a Safe Place – Once you do choose to meet someone in real life, always tell a friend or family member where you are going, who you will be with and when you expect to return. Give them the name and phone number of the person you are going to meet. Always meet your date and never let them pick you up at your home. Meet them in a public place during a busy time of day. Meeting at a restaurant that you are familiar with is a good idea.
Be Extra Cautious Outside Your Area – If you are flying in to an area you are not familiar with, make your own car and hotel reservations. Don’t let your date know where you are staying and don’t ever let them make the arrangements for you. If once you get to the planned meeting place, something seems unsafe or uncomfortable, go back to the hotel. Try to get a message to your date at that location or on their voicemail. As always, make sure that a friend or family member knows your plans and has all your contact information.
Get Out Of A Jam – Don’t ever do anything that you feel unsure or uncomfortable about. If you are afraid of your date in any way, excuse yourself long enough to get help, or call a friend. If you feel like you are in any kind of danger, call the police. No matter what, your safety is more important than what someone thinks of you.