Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Online Dating: Personal Safety

Online dating can provide a great, anonymous way to meet new people. While many online dating services provide a safe environment to meet others, you should never automatically assume you
are safe from Internet predators.

Before You Agree To Your First Date

Never agree to meet someone from an online dating service without first knowing a lot of information about them. Females especially should first obtain the other persons full name, address,
and home telephone number.

If the other person is only willing to give you a work phone number, or a pager, you should be very wary. This may mean that the other person has a spouse, or partner.

Test your potential online date, by calling at an unexpected time. If you do not know the person who picks up, there's a big chance that you have been lied to.

Before Your Date

Trust your instincts. If your gut feeling says "don't go" - then don't. If you do agree to meet someone for a date, you should be the one who sets a time, date, and location appropriate
for you.

Remember that your safety could be at stake. You will need to spend some time with the other person before you really begin to know them well.

Tell someone where and when your date will be. Give a friend or family member the full name, address, and telephone number of your online date.

Arrange to "check in" with your friend sometime during the date. Let your friend now if there are any change of plans.

If your online date starts saying that they want to keep the date secret - you should start to question their motives.

On The Date

Never get picked up by your online date. Take your own transport to the date and back. By taking your own transport, you can give yourself a chance to escape if things go wrong.

Arrange to meet in a very public place. You should choose to go somewhere that you know, or at least can check out beforehand. Meet in daylight, or stay in an area that is well-lit, with
lots of people.

If at any point, you begin to feel awkward or scared about the date, you have every right to leave. Excuse yourself, and make a phone call to a friend.

There is a chance that your date may truly frighten or alarm you - leave immediately, and call the police if necessary.

After The Date

No matter how great the date is, you should never let your online friend come back to your house. They may have been lulling you into a false sense of security.

Date smart, and date safe!

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