The best way to stay safe when meeting new people is to ensure your anonymity. There many services out there that allow Internet savvy individuals to find you via your email, phone, or address. Here are 10 online dating tips to keep you safe so that you have a successful online dating experience.
Never, ever, post your real information in your profile. Be honest about yourself, but keep personal information private. Once you feel comfortable with a person, then you can share personal information, but putting personal information in your profile puts your safety at risk.
Get a Free Email Address.
There are several free services out there, including Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail, or Google's G-mail. Before starting the online dating process, sign up for a new email address from one of these services that you use only for online dating. Never, ever, use an address that reveals anything about yourself. Keep the email address random and void of any personal information including your name, age, date of birth, physical location, etc.
Do Not Reveal Your Location.
Do not share your real name, home address, or phone number with a person until you are completely comfortable in doing so. Communicate via email in the beginning until you feel comfortable enough to move on to other forms of communication. Generally it's safest to move from email to telephone before meeting a date in person.
Get a P.O. Box and/or Unlisted Phone Number.
It may sound extreme, but your safety is of utmost importance. Using a P.O. Box is more useful than you think if a potential mate is sending you photos, letters, cards, or gifts in the mail. A P.O. Box allows you to keep your home address private. An unlisted number is more of a precaution for This will protect your home address until you are ready to share it with a date.
Steer Clear of Sexy.
Do not use a 'sexy' username. When using sexual connotations in your username or email, you'll get noticed, but not necessarily by the right crowd.
Honesty is the best relationship tool and lying can end relationships before they even have a chance to start. Let them get to know the real you through your profile ad, but that doesn't include giving out your private information. You may be somewhat apprehensive about using a photo, but using a photo is safe as long as you keep your other information out of your profile.
Trust your gut.
If you feel unsure, threatened, or uncomfortable, DO NOT respond to any further communication. You know when you feel uncomfortable. If you feel that way when talking to a person at the beginning, it's not going to change and you may be putting yourself further in danger.
Beware of red flags.
Watch out for obvious 'red flags' when talking to people that you have met through online dating. If they are acting suspicious, they probably are not who they say they are. Use common sense and you'll be safe.
Use your block list.
If you are uncomfortable with any email or IM messages from a member of the dating services, use your block list to keep them from contacting you again in the future.
If you come across any members that are mis-representing themselves or misusing the service, report them. These include married people posing as singles or minors, members that send harassing or offensive emails, criminals or 'shady' members, members behaving inappropriately, asking for money or donations, or those sending sales and spam messages.