Saturday, November 5, 2011

Guest Post: Amy Reynolds

Safety in Online Dating: Avoiding the Risks
We have the ability to use the internet for pretty much anything imaginable in our day-to-day lives and for some of us, it’s hard to think of going even an hour without it. This is why it comes as no shocker that people are turning to the World Wide Web for more than sending friend requests on Facebook and mindless YouTube-ing…
Single people across the globe are seeking love, companionship and meaningful relationships through online dating sites. With the millions signed up for these services, you never know exactly who you’re communicating with, so that’s why it is essential that anyone searching for that special someone in cyberspace be aware of how to avoid the dangers that come along with it.
Limit the information you disclose. In setting up your online profile that is sure to capture the hearts of all and guarantee that your dating calendar is booked for the next five weeks, be sure not to give out certain identifying information about yourself. Create a user name that doesn’t include your last name and on your profile do not include your home address, work address, personal email or phone number. When first interacting with potential suitors, keep all personally identifying info private and discreet until you feel confident that the person with whom you are dealing has the right intentions in mind.
Be on the lookout for red flags. Recently, many innocent online daters have been preyed upon by con artists with no goal of a relationship or commitment…but rather for stealing money. These online scammers will join dating sites, find vulnerable victims, and offer their love, loyalty and gifts right away. Watch out for other warning signs like poor spelling and grammar, profile pictures that are too good to be true, and erratic or inconsistent behavior.
Also, there is the possibility of meeting someone online who is married. No one wants to be caught in a twisted love affair…so to avoid that, be cautious of someone with no profile picture, someone who communicates at strange hours or someone who communicates on a very strict schedule.
Take things slow. An age old rule when applied to dating, this is something that should be taken very seriously when it comes to dating online. You may be anxious to meet someone with whom you’ve been connecting via the internet…but since you just never know, it’s best that you do not rush into it. Take the time to get to know someone through emails and phone calls. It might take a few weeks—but your safety is well worth the wait.
Do your research. If you have a potential match who you are considering meeting, gather as much information as you can about this person. Examine their profile, ask questions, and even do a light Google and social network search. By doing so, you may uncover some crucial facts that your online friend forgot to mention.
Meet in a crowded, public place. Whenever the time comes for you to meet face to face with an online prospect, make sure that you do so at a public venue where there are lots of other people. Never have your date pick you up from your home or place of business and before you go, let someone know where you are going and who your date is. While on your rendezvous, be aware of your surroundings by watching your personal belongings and forgoing the alcoholic beverages.
Always stay on your terms. The moment that someone you’ve been interacting with online makes you feel uncomfortable, cut your ties with them. Anyone who is pursuing you for the right reasons will understand your need for protection and respect playing the game by your rules. It is important to always trust your gut—your intuitive side is normally dead on so if you have a feeling that something is wrong it probably is…listen to it and get out of a questionable situation. Don’t let anyone make you feel embarrassed of your steps for precaution—your safety is the number one priority.

Amy Reynolds is a guest post author who shares with us her advice on safety and online dating. You can read more of her work that covers issues such as this on Free Adult Dating Sites.

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