11 Online Dating Safety Tips You Need to Know
Posted by Girls Guide To on September 13, 2012 at 4:20 PM
This week we’re talking all about survival and unfortunately in this world, part of surviving means keeping yourself safe, especially when you’re dating. When you meet someone in the real world, generally you can size him up pretty well by his tone of voice and actions. But if you’ve been dating for awhile, and only meeting Mr. Wrongs, that whole scene becomes tiring and online dating becomes a whole lot more appealing. Though it’s an easy and convenient solution, online dating comes with its own risks. Appearances can be deceiving and though you may think you know a guy from all those emails, sometimes you need to play it extra safe. Here are some general guidelines to keep yourself safe before, during, and after those first few meetings.
1. First, be honest with yourself and recognize that not everyone on a dating site is honest, nice – or even normal. More than 30% of those who pass themselves off as single are really married or involved. Stalkers, cyberbullys and even child predators who use mothers to get to their kids, flock to these sites. Instinct and intuition alone will not always protect you. Predators are brilliant at deception whether by email, phone or in person.
2. Delay meeting in person until you feel absolutely ready. There’s no need to rush. The more info you get, the better off you will be.
3. Get verifiable details through emails before you meet, such as a phone number. But be sure to use the site’s email system, not your private email – it can be traced back to you. If you must use a personal account, create separate email and IM accounts that you only use for online dating.
4. Don’t give out information that’s too personal or that can jeopardize your safety. Your address, phone number, financial info, etc. are not to be shared! When you’re ready to take it to the level of a phone conversation, don’t give out your phone number. Instead, make the call yourself and block your number.
5. When you feel ready to meet, still remember that you’re meeting a stranger. If you’ve had a long period of email and phone exchanges, don’t be lulled into a false sense of familiarity or security.
6. When you meet, never leave your drink or purse unattended – no matter how “safe” the person feels. In fact, until you really feel you know the person, don’t let him get you drinks that you didn’t see poured, etc.
7. Watch your alcohol intake. It’s nice to enjoy a cocktail or a glass of wine with dinner or when you first meet, because hello nerves, but alcohol does impair your judgment and makes it easier for you to be taken advantage of. If you do drink on a first date make sure to do so in moderation so you do not do something you will regret.
8. Don’t meet this guy at home and don’t go into a car alone with this person who is still a stranger. Always remain in public for the first few meetings, and try to plan day dates if at all possible.
9. Let a friend know who you’re meeting (provide the verifiable details you’ve collected such as their phone number), where you’re meeting, how to reach you and when you’ll be home.
10. Arrange for that friend to call you during your date. This will give your loved ones peace of mind. It will also make clear to your date that you are not entirely alone or vulnerable.
11. Don’t feel self-conscious or embarrassed about taking these precautions. Decent men understand that women need to be careful.
This is not meant to scare you or turn you off of online dating, but meant to make you aware that unfortunately, not everyone is who they say they are. It’s just a sad fact of life these days. Using precautions and good judgment will free you up to enjoy the fun, excitement and more entertaining (who doesn’t have a good date story!) aspects of online dating.
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