We’re all adults – we’re meant to be sensible – and we probably don’t need a lecture. Experience tells us that there are some weird and dodgy people out there. Using niche dating services may be a little safer as there are usually fewer members and therefore fewer targets for con artists. Here are a few key tips for keeping yourself safe whilst online.
Remain anonymous until you are confident about giving your personal details to others. Always use the dating service internal mail system which, on reputable dating sites, allows members to communicate without revealing their email address, telephone number or home address. Never reveal your personal details to others initially – keep your home and work emails, phone numbers, place of work, full name and home address secret, in fact, any details that would allow you to be traced. Be wary of adding your contact details to the site in a place that others can see it.
We sometimes feel like we’ve made an “instant connection” online with someone we’ve only just met. Some of that feeling is a result of being anonymous on the Internet today. So go slowly with new contacts and get to know the person via messaging first. Terminate any contact with others who are asking for money. Then proceed to email and phone calls if you still feel safe, attracted, and curious. Finally, setup a first date/meeting when the time is right. Don’t feel pressurised into meeting someone – if you’re not sure you want to meet them then don’t, or talk more times over the phone before making a decision. If you suspect someone is behaving strangely, highly offensively or illegally through an online dating service site, block them and tell the site administrators about it.
Send plenty of messages to your potential date/companion; ask them questions to make sure they’re genuine; look out for answers that don’t quite stack up; watch out for people posting offensive images, taglines, descriptions or messages and report them to the site administrators – they will check them out and take what they deem to be appropriate action.
In part 2 we will offer some advice that may help you when you meet face to face. This information is given in good faith and is intended for information only – we cannot accept any responsibility for your safety if you use a dating service online – you make your own decisions and must accept responsibility for them yourself.