You’ve heard cautionary tales about online safety time and again. There is no shortage when it comes to stories about how people have lost money, or worse, while interacting with people they meet online. But you should not let this sour your hopes of finding interesting people on the Internet. Online dating need not be a risky gamble with proper safety measures. Here are a few tips to remember when dating online:
Keep your account information private
This applies to all your different online activities. There is no acceptable reason why you should divulge your username and password combination to anyone else. No representative of the site will ever ask you for your account information.
Take time to create a strong password
Make sure that the password you use will be hard to guess. Refrain from using 12345, abcde, your name, or your birthday. It would be best if you could combine alphanumeric characters with some symbols. More importantly, do not use the same password you use with other accounts, like your email or your online banking account. In the unfortunate event that your account becomes compromised, your other online accounts will still be safe.
Be careful of your photos
Posting pictures of yourself can greatly increase your chances of meeting someone. You can post pictures of yourself in different situations that highlight your personality. Keep in mind, however, that once you post these pictures online, anyone from around the world can see them. Make sure that these are pictures you are comfortable with. So, no, pictures of you in your underwear really don’t belong on your profile. Pictures of you in compromising situations do not belong on the Internet as well. Remember, your boss, coworkers, relatives, and friends also have access to the Internet. If you don’t feel comfortable showing them those pictures, it’s probably best not to post them online at all.
Safeguard your personal information
Keep your profile free of important personal information. Your address (home, work, or otherwise), your phone number, and other such important information should not be posted online for the whole world to see.
Beware of scammers
There are many predators out there looking to take advantage of soft-hearted people. Armed with everything from family sob stories to stories about business trips gone awry, these people will find ways of making you part with your money. You might meet an interesting person who claims to come from the UK but is currently stuck in another part of the world and all that person needs is a bit of help so he/she can come home. Before you pull out your wallet and rush off to wire the money, step back and ask yourself, why are you being asked by a person you just met through an online dating site, for money? Doesn’t that person have friends or family or even colleagues? Trust your nose. If it smells fishy, run and don’t look back.
Meet at public places
Eventually, you might find someone you want to meet in person. When that happens, make sure to meet at a public place. Don’t let your first encounter be at your date’s home or your home. Just because you find the other person interesting doesn’t mean you should let your guard down. Make sure you have an escape plan in case the date goes horribly wrong.