Online Dating Safety Tips
Many people are turning to online dating services to look for love. While some have found love online, others have been hurt, blackmailed, stalked, manipulated and defrauded. If you are considering online dating, here are a few WiredSafety tips on ways to conduct online romances safely:
• Find a reputable online dating service. "Single and looking" chat rooms can be unpleasant places.
• If things don’t add up, do some subtraction (like leaving the place, ending the communication or defriending someone). It’s easy to research someone through Facebook and pose as their perfect mate, for lots of different reasons. Don’t let them follow you home or see your car, if it can be avoided.
• Choose an non-identifiable screen name (and keep it clean - otherwise you are asking for the wrong sort of attention).
• Never give out any personal information at the beginning and when you are ready to tell someone your real name and/or where you live - stick to first names only and be vague about your address (just your state/province is enough - they aren't coming for dinner - just yet - so they don't need to know your how to find your house).
• Use a toss-away free email account or anonymous remailers offered by online dating services.
• Block your cell phone number or consider buying a prepaid cell phone that can't lead anyone back to you.
• When you are ready to chat online, outside of dating site - use separate e-mail and IM accounts for online dating.
Get more online dating safety tips at WiredSafety.org.
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