Whilst, to a certain extent, the proliferation of horror stories has lead to a rather exaggerated public perception of the dangers of online dating, people still need to be aware of the simple steps they can take to ensure that they are not putting themselves at risk unnecessarily whilst using online dating services.
The most basic measure you can take to help protect yourself from any potential trouble is to choose a site that is well known and comes with a great reputation for customer service, as they are normally run with customer’s safety high up on their list of priorities. (Of course, another upside is that, as they have a much larger client base, there’s always an increased chance that you’ll be able to find somebody who’s a great match for you.)
These well known sites will normally provide facilities that allow you to send messages to people you are interested in through the site itself. This allows you to keep your personal contact details, such as your email address and your phone numbers, in reserve. This will not only help to keep you safe from any untoward abuses of your contact details, it can also help to keep your computer safe, as virus are often sent by malicious people via email.
When it comes to physically meeting up with somebody you’ve met through the service, there are a few tips you should follow, which, though they seem like common sense when meeting a stranger, are easy enough to forget in the context of a date. For instance, it is not advisable to accept a lift home, or even back to your own vehicle after the date is over. Over indulging in drink is always something to avoid when it comes to staying safe, especially if your out with a stranger.
If you are travelling a long distance to meet up with somebody, it is best to plan ahead, with regards to where you’ll stay the night, and you should book a hotel just in case accommodation proves hard to come by at the last minute.
Finally, even if, having spent a long time conversing with somebody, you start to feel that you’ve built up a high level of trust, do not be tempted into answering a request for money. Scammers frequently target dating services and are more than willing to put in the leg work required to win over their victims, sometimes building up a relationship over a period of months before making a plea for money (usually to help resolve some invented emergency) never to be heard from again.
You can learn more about staying safe online from Getsafeonline.org.