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Tips for Safe Online Dating

With the rising popularity of dating websites, a lot of people are finding that the Internet can be a great way to meet that special someone. But when we look at it realistically, we also know that we might just be unlucky enough to come in contact with the wrong person. The good news is that as long as you make the right moves, you won't have to worry about anything. Let's take a look at some of the best tips to maintain safety and security when dating online.

Choose the right service

According to Online Dating Magazine, there is an estimated total of over 2,500 online dating services in the United States alone. This makes it that much harder for someone to sign up with the right dating service. The key is to do your research, so you can find a reputable dating site that meets your requirements and is known for the level of safety and security it offers to members. As long as you sign up with the right dating site, you can have some assurance that most of the other members you might meet will also be genuinely interested in finding that special someone.

Double-check your security settings

Once you have decided on an online dating service, make sure your computer is completely secure. Before you sign up for a membership, it would be a good idea to create a new email account just for online dating. Keep it separate from your work and personal email accounts. This gives you the ability to keep a track of your correspondence as well as to easily isolate inappropriate or unwanted content. If you decide to use your real name in your new email address, avoid keeping your full name for additional security.

Be discreet

A common mistake made by many romantic hopefuls when signing up for online dating is that they don't hesitate to post their contact information. Remember not to make your contact information available to anyone you meet online unless you have known them for a while and trust them. Don't use the same email address you use on your social media or professional accounts, because anyone can look you up if they have that information.

Watch out for warning signs

Not everyone you meet online has the same outlooks or morals as you do, so it is up to you to watch out for signs to separate the good from the bad. One of the best ways to do this is by observing their profile and looking for red flags. The first thing you need to look at is their profile picture. Some people have no shame in snatching pictures of celebrities, models, or even other regular folks and then posting them as their own. Sadly, if he/she looks too good to be true, they probably are. If the profile picture raises your suspicion, try using Google's reverse image search to find out if the photo has been posted elsewhere.

After verifying the picture, you can continue your "investigation" during your conversations. Excessive grammatical errors and spelling mistakes are among the easiest warning signs to spot. Remain alert if he/she asks for money or seems inconsistent in providing basic information such as employment, marital status, appearance, career, education, and children. When you ask him/her certain questions, do they avoid answering directly? It's common for people to joke around before answering, but they do need to answer eventually.

If everything checks out so far, it wouldn't hurt to “play detective” for a little longer. Try running a Google search of his/her name and see if you can find anything else about them. Most of the time, using your common sense can be the best way to identify whether or not a person you meet online is being genuine. If it doesn't seem right, it probably isn't and you might want to try focusing on a different potential date.

Don't rush in

Sometimes, taking things slow can be a great way to find out more about a person – whether it's someone you met online or through mutual friends. Even though you have made certain that this person is not out to scam you, there are still chances that they could be looking for something else other than commitment. If you're not comfortable giving out your phone number to them, then don't feel the need to do so. However, make sure you speak to them at least twice or thrice over the phone before agreeing to meet them in person. Always trust your instincts and don't let your excitement get in the way of you following your heart and mind.