10 tips: Online Dating Safety
1) Use your common sense. If you don't have any, keep reading. We all have instincts though, so don't rationalize to yourself if you feel that someone is lying or unsafe, because most of the time your instincts are right.
2) Create an email account with Yahoo or Hotmail and use this email address exclusively for online dating.
Privacy is key to online dating.
3) Should you be tempted to use your real email account (don't), turn your signature file off if you use one.
4) Do NOT put any personal contact information in your profile or embedded in a photo. This includes last name, primary email addresses, home phone number, cell phone number, work phone number, your address, or your place of employment. Basically, anything that someone could use to find you (unless you want to be found.) Remember, in all likelihood, they will have pictures of you.
5) Do not post photos of yourself which would allow someone to identify your home or your vehicle.
6) Do not say that you are going to be somewhere specific on a certain date and time unless it's a major sporting event, etc. It might be tempting for them to go look for you. (Like a child's sports game in the only complex in your town.)
7) Make yourself a set of rules on what you won't tolerate, and don't compromise. If someone breaks your rules, just cut your losses and depart.
8) Red Flags
* Someone acts condescending or disrespectful to you.
* Someone gets angry at you and SHOUTS AT YOU!
* Pressures you to reveal personal information or meet before you are ready.
* Gives you a phone number to call that begins with 1-900.
* Asks you for money or wants to know if you'd want to invest in a great business "opportunity".
* Lies to you. Look for inconsistencies. For instance, if they say something like, "I told you about that".", and you know you've never talked about that, then they have their dating personalities mixed up and do you really want to continue with someone who can't keep you straight?
* Someone who is obviously intoxicated (often).
* Someone who is overtly sexual (if that doesn't bother you, go back to #1 and start over.)
* Someone who will not send you a photo (if they don't have one posted) even after you've been communicating for awhile.
* Does not want to meet in a public place.
* Is evasive or answers questions with questions.
* Abruptly ends chat sessions or phone calls, or only has certain times when they can be contacted.
* Whispers when you call them at home.
9) Don*t get in a hurry no matter what. Wait several weeks before moving on with each phase.
10) After you've decided that you're comfortable enough to talk by phone, call from a public phone, disable caller id (*67?) before calling from a home phone, or buy a phone card, call the phone card from your cell phone or home phone and then call their number. If you're really paranoid, try using the phone card with a pay phone.
11) When you're ready to meet in person, ALWAYS meet in a public place. ALWAYS use your own transportation to and from the meeting and anywhere else you go before you end the date. Coffee shops are the number one meeting spot for first time online daters.
12) Be careful about meeting in parks , even popular parks have secluded spots and times when there are few people about.
13) Don't go to their house for the first meeting no matter how great of a cook they say they are.
14) Carry a cell phone with you.
15) Tell someone where you are going, when, who you are going to meet (as much as you know about them), and when you expect to be back. Check in with that person before you go and after you get back.
16) If you drive your own car, don't let them get a look at your license plate if you can help it. In some cases, you might be able to be tracked down from the plate. If you have a personalized license plate, that's easy to spot. If you're worried and money is not an issue, rent a car.
17) You should keep the first meeting to an hour or less.
18) You might even have a friend go separately to the same place as a spy for you. Follow your date to the bathroom , see if they stop and call their wife, etc.
19) Do not leave your food or drink unattended at any time. Have the waiter bring your drinks or get them yourself.
20) Don't be afraid to just get up and leave if you are uncomfortable, go out the back door if you must.
21) Check to make sure you are not being followed when you leave, you might want to make another stop before going straight home.
22) Keep in mind that you could be recorded when you call someone; also, voice mails can be kept indefinitely or recorded.
23) If you call someone collect, your number will end up on their phone bill.
24) Limit personal contact to a handshake at the first meeting.
25) Don't drink enough to get tipsy , you WILL say or do something you shouldn't! Better to stay with something non-alcoholic.
Out of Town Dates
1) All of the above and*.
2) If you fly, rent a car or take cabs. If they want to meet you at the airport, spend some time with them in the airport coffee shop or bar, then take your rental car or cab to your hotel by yourself and meet them somewhere later.
3) You may not want to reveal which hotel you're staying at.
4) Cell phone is a must.
5) Make sure friends know where you are and check in regularly.
6) Do not bring your friend to your hotel room!
7) Do not stay with them, or their mother, or brother, etc.
If all of this seems just too much, it may very well be too much 90% of the time. Just be aware of what CAN happen, and keep these tips in the back of your mind. Next Creating a Profile