Millions of people are active in online dating websites across the country. Once considered a bit “taboo” meeting online has now become a socially acceptable way to meet people and potentially find love. However, despite the fact that “everyone is doing it” and Internet dating just seems to be part of our culture now don’t be fooled it is still just as dangerous as it was 10 years ago. Many people don’t realize it but for every online dating “success story” there is also a “tale of caution”, no matter how you sugarcoat it. Never forget that predators thrive online and If you choose to participate in internet dating websites you need to keep your guard up.

Protect Yourself While Dating Online

There are three different “types” that you should be wary of if you are participating in online dating. The sexual predators, financial scammers, and identity thieves, these individuals flock to popular online dating sites and applications because many people on who are on these sites are vulnerable and looking to connect. It may seem unfortunate that criminals would take advantage, but don’t forget for one moment that they are in fact criminals and they are experienced at what they do.

The first rule of thumb is:

If it seems to good to be true, it probably is”

If someone messages you on a dating application saying something like “I am a Serbian prince looking for love…”

I’d be very cautious of their story. Never forget that the Internet is full of people pretending to be someone who they are not. These people WANT to take advantage of you and have no regard for the consequences of their actions because they are hidden behind a computer screen.

The second rule of online dating is

Trust should be earned, not granted”

Although we all would like to give people the benefit of the doubt the online dating scene is not the place to do that. If you are just starting to communicate with someone and have not met him or her in person, do not divulge personal information. Consider anything about yourself that could be used to harm you, like your address, place of business, EVEN YOUR REAL NAME as privileged information. Don’t think that just because they tell you something personal you need to do the same. This is absolutely the wrong way to conduct yourself because remember on the Internet the person could easily be lying.
Instead, keep the conversation casual talk about your interests and similar hobbies to see if you are compatible. Talking about things that you are very knowledgeable about is a great way to weed out phonies. Once your sure that the person is authentic then propose a public meet up, and at that point introduce yourself formally.

Finally

Take it to the Real World as soon as possible”

It may seem like a romantic notion to carry on an online correspondence for an extended period without meeting all “You’ve go mail” style. However the longer that you prolong meeting face to face, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment because the Internet allows people to be allusive. Not only could they be blatantly lying or fabricating an identity they could also be carrying with other people, or behind someone’s back. The Internet is a great tool for infidelity and dishonesty.

If within a few days (or weeks) the person is not open to an actual meeting then I would consider that a major red flag. If they won’t pursue the relationship offline it is probably not worth pursuing at all. After all hopefully your looking for someone who is interested in finding love in “real life” not cyberspace.