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We’ve all been there. On some horrifying date that your best friend set you up on where it was all you could do not to get up and run for the door…leaving you questioning your friendship with your “best friend” and the entire human race in general.
So maybe now you’ve decided to try your luck on the internet dating scene. Well, the good news is there are many positives about using the World Wide Web to begin a quest for a romantic relationship with another human being. But with the good comes a few risks. And unfortunately in this day in age, having your heart ripped out and stomped on isn’t the only thing you have to watch out for.
There are several dangers involved with online dating and if you plan to join the cyberspace arena of love, you’ve not only got to arm yourself with the knowledge to maintain a heart that is intact, but with the knowledge to maintain your safety as well.
Tip #1: Be careful when creating your profile. Being that your information is available to anyone once it reaches the web, it is extremely important that you do not include any personally identifying details in your online dating profile. While you should create a profile that is chalk-full with plenty of original information that will set you apart from the rest of the online daters out there, here are a few items in which to omit:
• Home address
• Business address
• Phone number
• Personal email address
After you get to know someone via a safe and secure online dating site, then it would be appropriate to exchange emails and phone numbers—but take it slow when exchanging information and make sure this person has made you feel comfortable and is worthy of your trust.
Tip #2: Watch out for evil con artists. For the most part, the majority of online daters are just like you: innocent daters subscribed to dating sites, looking for love with good intentions in mind. But there are, however, some subscribed for reasons not so pure. Recently, many online daters have fallen victim to the twisted hands of financial scammers. These people are con artists who are signed up to dating websites to prey on others by seeking out their vulnerabilities with the goal of financial gains. If you think you could be dealing with a scammer, be on the lookout for these tell-tale warning signs:
• Profile pictures that resemble a model straight out of a magazine
• Confusing names or conflicting information is given
• Love is confessed at warp-speeds
• Flowers and other gifts are sent right away
• Poor grammar/language that doesn’t align with their alleged education level/career/life status
• Asking for money to help with some dire situation
Tip #3: Watch out for two-timing, married cheaters. Unfortunately, there are creeps out there who are signed up to dating sites, typing away to singles whilst wearing a token of forever around their left ring finger. No one wants to get involved with someone who is married. So before you find yourself wrapped up in the throes of some sorted love affair, look out for these red flags that will warn you if someone you met online has seemed to forget about their vows:
• Zero profile picture
• Erratic/irregular responses, emails and phone calls OR calling on a very strict schedule
• The person asks for your phone number but is unwilling to give you theirs—you might get a cell number if anything
Tip #4: Date in a safe fashion. This doesn’t mean you have to pack a Taser or brush up on your kickboxing skills before you go on a date, it just means you need to arm yourself with the smarts to play it safe…because you just never know who you could be meeting. Follow these first date guidelines and you are unlikely to find yourself in a questionable situation:
• Never have your online friend pick you up from your home or place of business—meet them at a crowded, public venue.
• Make sure you let a friend or family member know the name of your date and where the two of you are going. Call this friend or family member when you get home to let them know you arrived back safely and in one piece.
• Be observant and aware of your surroundings at all times. As alcohol is known to hamper judgment, it is a good idea to keep the drinks to a minimum.
• Never leave drinks or personal belongings unattended.
Tip #5: Always play the game by your rules. If you and your online fling have decided to exchange numbers or to meet up for a date, be sure to always keep things on your terms. Don’t let someone talk to into doing something that makes you uncomfortable. Listen to your gut—if you feel like something is wrong, there is a good chance that it is. It is best to trust your intuitive side rather than trust someone you don’t know who could possibly subject you to harm. Don’t be ashamed of your precautionary behavior—remember, your safety is of upmost importance and those who have the right intentions will respect and understand your need for protection.
The above article comes to us from guest poster, Amy Reynolds, who writes on topics such as this for some of the best adult dating sites.
Note: October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. I present this post to help increase awareness of relationship violence.