“Is online dating safe” should be the first thing you consider before you sign up for your first dating website. While online dating has become commonplace it is not without its risks. These risks may not be greater than those of traditional dating yet they are different and worth examining. Given the tremendous success that many have found with online dating the risks are very likely worthwhile. With proper precautions you can confidently answer “yes” to the question of”is online dating safe”.
Is Online Dating Safe?
Yes, If You Follow These 10 Rules
Guard Your Identity
Until you are confident that someone you have met online is trustworthy be very careful with what information you provide. This is especially important for your profile information as that information is essentially open to anyone in the world.
If there is one thing the recent celebrity photo leak scandals have taught us it is that you should treat everything you put online as potentially public information.
Do not share the following information unless you trust the recipient:
- Full name
- Phone number
The likelihood that anything negative would happen is low but worth keeping in mind.
Don’t Give Anyone Financial Information
There is no legitimate reason to share your personal financial information with anyone while online dating. It is rare, but there is always the potential for online scammers to be searching for targets on online dating sites. This is especially rare on legitimate sites, such as those in our Best Online Dating Site Review, but it happens.
Never under any circumstance give out the following:
- Social Security Number
- Credit card number
- Bank account number
- Personal identifying information
You should ignore anyone asking you to send money for any reason, especially outside of the country. When you send money out of the country you often will have no protection against loss. Once the recipient has the money you cannot reverse the transaction and tracing the recipient is very difficult.
Trust Your Instincts
If something doesn’t feel right you need to trust your instincts. Do not allow anyone to influence you into doing something that makes you uncomfortable or uneasy. The beauty of online dating is that you have time to respond. There is no reason for you to rush into anything.
If you find yourself in a situation where someone is pressuring you to do something you do not want to do stop communicating with them immediately! If someone will not respect your boundaries online they certainly will not in the real world. It doesn’t matter how attractive you find them, you need to trust your instincts and insist that others respect your boundaries.
Use A Legitimate Dating Website
There are a lot of dating websites online that are complete scams. Always do some initial research to decide which website is best for you and is not just out to grab your money. Check out our Best Dating Site Review for some great options.
Every site has different features, different populations of potential dates, and different security measures. You want to make sure that the site you choose has a history of success and will do it’s part to protect you and your information. The top rated sites in our Best Dating Site Review are the industry leaders in those areas.
Have Designated Online Dating Photos
This is a fairly recent development that doesn’t get mentioned very often. You need to have specific photos that you only use for online dating and nothing else. Why? Google Image Search.
If you are using Google’s Chrome browser you can simply “right click” on most photos on the internet and “Search Google for this image”. Now Google will show you everywhere on the internet where you can find that exact photo. Facebook. LinkedIn. Pinterest. All of those sites will come up if you have the same picture on those sites.
This feature is also available through Google.com and can be used with any internet browser. Google search the images you plan on including in your profile ahead of time and see what comes up!
Guard Your Social Profiles
Don’t get in a hurry to pull the people you meet into your social media circles. As soon as you add someone as a friend on Facebook or follow someone on Twitter they have access to a LOT of information about you. This is personal information that you should guard closely.
You would also be wise to make sure the privacy settings on your social media accounts are set properly. Ensure that these accounts are set to a privacy standard you are comfortable with that doesn’t leave you vulnerable.
You can’t be too careful with your personal information online!
Always Meet In Public
Always choose a public place with lots of people around for your first meeting in public. I prefer coffee houses or more quite, but still popular, bars for these first encounters. You are essentially meeting a stranger.
Having a brief coffee or drink date before anything more elaborate is also a great way to minimize your risk. You don’t want to commit to spending hours with someone before you really know if you have chemistry. You can save yourself a lot of potential trouble (or boredom) with a brief first meeting to “screen” your potential dates.
Also, at least initially, you want to avoid having your date pick you up at your house or drop you off. The reason for this is simple. You do not want anyone you don’t trust to know where you live.
Pick a spot and meet your date there for your initial meeting. Drive yourself home afterwards. These are two simple things that are extremely important. You do not want to give a stranger any power over you initially, especially controlling your transportation.
Always Tell Someone Where You Are Going
Always, always, always tell a friend or family member you trust where you are going and who you are meeting. This is a great habit to get into for both online and conventional dating. You never want to put yourself in a situation where you are meeting someone new without having backup.
If you are afraid about telling people you are dating online DON’T BE! Online dating is extremely popular and there is no longer any social stigma attached. Never let your ego compromise your safety.
Being nervous before or during a date is natural. We have all been there. Don’t give in to the temptation of over indulging and impairing your judgement. You are meeting someone you barely know and need to stay sharp. If nothing else you want to make sure you have your wits about you to make your best impression.
This is another reason I prefer coffee dates to start. It is MUCH more difficult to drink too much at a coffee house.
Treating other people well and being honest with them is important. Most of the ill will that is generated via online dating is caused by one, or both, parties being deceptive. This is often not with bad intentions but even “white” lies can cause big problems down the road.
If you are communicating with someone and are evaluating them as a potential friend or partner you want to be as honest as possible. Forming a partnership based on half-truths is not the basis for a long lasting relationship. This is something you have complete control over when considering the question of “is online dating safe”.
Ultimately you want to use common sense. Online dating is fantastic but should be treated with as much caution as traditional dating. Follow the above rules and make sure you are comfortable before agreeing to anything.
If you want to ensure you join a top dating website take a look at our Online Dating Site Review to find the site that gives you your best chance of finding someone fantastic.