Dating Safely Online

Computer with dangerous looking scammer

Dating safely online our tips to staying safe

If you're new to online dating then it's not as scary as people make it out as long as you follow some simple steps. Dating online can be a safer route to dating than traditional dating methods. With online dating you get a wider choice of people to meet while remaining at a safe distance till you're happy to meet that person.

Let's start with the basics to dating online safely. Below is our guide to the steps you should take.

If you are messaging somebody and something about them or what they are saying just doesn't feel right to you then this is your gut telling you not to take a chance. Leave the conversation gracefully but if this is not working don't hang around just leave.

When you are creating your profile try to be as real as possible. You don't want to be misled when reading somebody else's profile so why should you lie on yours. You will get caught out in the long run and it will be harder to explain yourself when you have found somebody you like.

When posting a profile picture of yourself pay special attention to what might be in the background. Does it contain any family or friends or your home or car. Don't give out any information that somebody could use to find out where you live.

Be aware of what information you are revealing in your profile it's all too easy to give away personal information and you don't know who you are giving it to. You can always give out more information to potential dates the more you chat and get to know them.

When using dating sites go for the ones that hide your personal email address and contact information. They usually have a messaging service on the website and if anything doesn't go wrong the dating service will be able to access the messages and take appropriate action on your behalf.

If somebody starts talking to you about your finances or asking for money then this should start your alarm bells sounding. People asking you for money or asking about your financial situation is probably a sign that they are not legitimate daters and are possibly scammers. You should never disclose your personal finances online to anybody even if you have been chatting with them for a while and built up a trust. Scammers have been known to build up a relationship over many months and then when they have your trust will start asking for money.

You are in total control online and so don't be pressured into providing photos or information that you don't want to give out. If you are not happy cut off communication with the person and don't reply to their messages.

If somebody asks to meet you before you are ready then just politely say no you need more time to get to know them before meeting face to face. If somebody is genuine and cares about you they will understand and will be happy to continue chatting online till you feel more confident.

If you are looking at somebody's profile and the photos don't look right for the age of the person don't be afraid to ask them to see a recent photo. It's not uncommon for people out of vanity post their favourite photos taken 10 or 20 years ago.

Think about what you are saying when you are messaging people. Does it convey the right tone and intention? you don't want to be misleading people. You also need to be aware of anybody that declares their undying love for you especially if you have only been messaging them for a short time.

If you have any concerns about somebody online then don't keep it to yourself get in touch with the website administrators to look into it for you. Most dating sites have software to weed out fraudulent profiles and scammers but on rare occasions they can get past the safety net. Once you have flagged it the team will assess the member and take any appropriate action necessary. Even if you're not sure be on the safe side and flag it up they won't mind checking for you to ensure your safety.

So you have been messaging for a while and decided to meet the online date of your dreams. Even if you are a seasoned dater or just curious to see who the other person really is here's our list of advice when meeting up.

First things first don't let anybody pressure you into going out on a date and certainly don't give out your personal contact details unless you are really happy to do so. Only after a few dates would we advise you to give out your home or office address. Be sure that you are totally confident you know all about your date and that you can trust them.

If somebody talks about such things as finances and sex before you have even met them then be very wary, especially if they have declared their undying love for you.

Choosing a place to meet for the first time should be in a neutral public location. Find a place that is easy for you both to get to and that there are lots of people around that will be in hearing distance.

Tell a friend or relative that you are going out on a date and where you will be going. Tell them what time you intend to get home and have them ring you to see that you are home safely. Create a coded way of letting them know if you are in need of help. You could always arrange for somebody to pass by where you will be during your date to have a look and see that you are ok. If you are having a great time and your plan changes don't forget to update your friend or relative.

If the date is not going well, trust your instincts and politely make an excuse and leave the situation. Many bars and restaurants are using the "Ask for Angela" campaign which if you say it they will know you are in need of help and will discretely call you a taxi and get you out of the place quietly.

Always plan your journey in advance and use either public transport or a taxi. Never rely on your date to come and pick you up from home and have a taxi number programmed into your phone in case you need one handy.

If you do end up sharing a taxi home together try to be dropped off last or try to avoid showing your date the exact place that you live by getting out at the end of the street if it is safe to do so.

A good night will more often than not include alcohol. Try to keep a tabs on how much you are consuming so that you can keep your wits about you. If you have a feeling that your food or drink has been tampered with in some way then don't consume it.

Before you go out on a date make sure you fully charge up your phone and that there is enough minutes of call time on it.

Remember you and your date will probably be in the same boat and they will have the same concerns as you do. Don't try and push them into doing something that they are not comfortable with. There's plenty of time to develop the relationship so don't rush it.

Finally dating is fun and with today's sophisticated technology online danger is very rare. The vast majority of singles you will encounter will be just as genuine as you are. Staying safe online is easy as long as you trust your instincts and follow these safety rules. Happy dating and you will find 'the one' in no time!

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