Online dating is as safe, and in some ways safer than meeting people offline. Online dating services protect your anonymity at all times (your real name, contact details, and so on) and provide tools to block and report bad apples, as well as online dating safety tips like these. The rest is up to you. If there's any danger at all, it's that you feel too safe and forget to use your common sense. So, here are some reminders to help keep your online dating experiences safe and enjoyable.
Never, ever include your real name, address or contact details in your profile or personal ad, or communications with other members. Remember, there's absolutely no reason why anyone would need these details. Online dating services provide plenty of options for communicating, safely and anonymously.
Be wary of anyone who presses for information:
At online dating sites the focus is on personalities, interests, values and so on ? the type of information that helps you determine if someone's "the one." Specific details, like your exact address, or place of work or study aren't relevant and you should be immediately suspicious of anyone who pushes for this type of information.
Keep it vague:
Telling someone that you workout out at the gym every night is fine. Telling them at which gym, at what times, and that you're afraid of the dark alley behind it is not!
Don't paint a picture:
Remember, some people are very good at putting two and two together to learn more about you than you'd like them to know! Again, keep it vague.
Take your time getting to know someone. If someone seems too good to be true, they probably are. With time, you'll spot any inconsistencies and realize that things don't quite add up.
Act on your instincts:
If you're uncomfortable communicating with another member, move on. There's no need to explain. One of the big advantages of dating online is that you can block other members, making yourself instantly inaccessible, zapping them out of your life!
Report bad apples:
The better online dating services devote money and personnel to quality control but appreciate your help. They have systems in place that make it easy to report members who are spoiling their service for others.
Choose a quality dating site:
Last but not least, choose a well-established, popular site with plenty of members. Popularity is a good indicator that a dating service is doing plenty to keep it's members happy, including tools and policies that keep you safe online.
Copyright 2005 Caroline Mackenzie
Caroline Mackenzie is Co-Owner/Webmaster of The Dating Muse, a guide to online dating services and personals featuring reviews of the top online dating sites plus tips and ideas for finding friends, dates, soulmates and sexual adventure online. You can visit her site at http://DatingMuse.com and subscribe to her newsletter at http://datingmuse.com/subscribe.htm