The stigma attached to online dating may, in some ways, be unwarranted. Telling the tale of their meeting, a couple may be eager to leave out phrases like “Well Bob, I was scouring free online dating sites and there she was under ‘Avid collector of cookie jars’ – it was fate!”
However, there’s one area of online dating where it pays to be cautious – personal safety. Of course the argument could be made that online dating is safer than its real world counterpart for many reasons, namely that initial dates take place online rather than in person, safeguarding single’s physical security and belongings.
Subscription and free online dating sites aren’t without risks. Disappointment is something everybody must learn to cope with in life, however more specific risks associated with dating websites include harassment, stalking, spam, fraud and potentially being exposed to predators.
• User names can be incredibly telling. Opt for something that conveys no personal information such hometown, surname etc.
• Consider setting up an email address specifically for online dating. Perhaps leave out middle names, even surnames, location, mobile phone number etc. If any harassment or spam occurs, pinpointing the source will be far easier.
•Trust instincts. If someone is clearly trying to set up a hasty meeting, wheedle bank details, personal addresses etc, report them to the site administrator and stay well away.
• Trustworthy dating websites should offer the option to conceal email addresses. Privacy settings vary from site to site. It’s certainly worth an afternoon’s dedication to learn the ins and outs of privacy settings.
No form of dating is without its risks, but with a little prudence and instinct, online dating can be one of the most exciting, effective ways to scour the dating pool and connect with potential partners.