The popularity of online dating has increased dramatically over the past few years. While most online daters are honest and straightforward, some seriously misrepresent themselves.
Here are some safety tips and steps to help you weed out the good from the bad and help others do the same.
1. Always be cautious when dating online. While most daters are healthy and honest, some are unsavory characters who could even be dangerous.
2. Don't share personal information such as your last name, home phone, address or workplace information until you feel comfortable with the person.
3. When you are interested in meeting someone look at their entire profile. Does the person appear straightforward? Do they have at least one pleasant picture? Is the picture (s) clear and in focus? Are there red flags in their essays - Do you see signs of anger towards family or previous partners? Are there recent ugly breakups or a history of unsuccessful relationships? If so, be extra cautious and use common sense.
4. If your friends use the same dating service, ask if they have met this person. On some sites and in some smaller cities, often your friends might know or have even met this person. Get their feedback! If nothing else, it can be fun to trade stories.
5. If you know the person's full name, search for his or her information on a search engine. Beware, unless a name is especially rare, there will be multiple results. Read the content on the links to see if it is the same person. Don't feel like you are spying on the person, it is now quite common to research potential dates. You might want check your own name to see what you find!
6. Search for reviews of the person's profile on a dating review site like TrueDater.com. There may be positive or negative reviews that will give you more information about the person.
Be cautious of people without photos or whose photos are blurry or unclear.
If you are considering traveling to another city to meet another person, be sure to request at least 4 or 5 clear full pictures.
Watch out for people who seem to be especially angry or needy or who disclose personal problems in their profiles. This is often a sign of a person who is not ready for a healthy romantic relationship.
You may even consider using a good software containing database of people, where you can check their entire background. It would be money well spent, when you consider the risks involved in meeting up with someone you have just met online.