1) Safety First – Meeting People Online

In some ways online dating is safer than meeting people face-to-face, but in other ways, it's actually more dangerous. While you can make smart choices to maintain a hidden identity online, there are some online dating risk factors that warrant some precautions. But don't worry; these tips are simple and easy to use.

The first and most obvious precaution involves your personal information. Under NO circumstances should you give out personal information to someone you do not actually know. This includes your phone number, your last name, your home address, the place you work, and even your real email address. Even if you start to feel comfortable with someone you have been communicating with online, do not send them your personal information before you truly get to know them.

If you are serious about someone you have talked to online and wish to meet them in person, make sure you do thorough research on them to make sure they are safe. Look them up online, and make sure their name doesn't pop on any registered offender lists. You can't be too cautious.

Create a new email address to use primarily for online dating. Just go sign up for a free email account with Gmail or Yahoo and use that for your online dating profile. This way, you can share your email address while meeting people online, but it won't be your primary personal email address. If you end up getting stalked by someone or bombarded with emails, it won't happen in your main email inbox. It's also nice because you can always just delete the dating email address and make a new one any time.

Finally, it goes without saying that you should stop communication with anyone who pushes you to give them personal information. Chances are, she is just a scammer trying to make a quick buck at your expense. You need to trust your instincts here and make decisions on the side of caution. If they are pushing you to give up your address or your last name before you have even connected or talked very much, you should probably stop the communication there. Also, if a girl you have just met online tells you she has a huge emergency and needs financial help, you can assume right away that she is just trying to con you for money.

The First Face-to-Face Meeting

If you ever decide to meet in person with someone you met online, always meet in a public place. It doesn't matter where it is, as long as you know there will be other people present. This is also a good deterrent; if she was going to try something funny when you met up, she will most likely turn down an invitation to meet in public. She might suggest meeting somewhere more private, and although it might sound good to you as a guy, you should avoid this situation and avoid that girl. Meeting people online should never have the potential to put your well being at risk.

If you are meeting people online, you meet someone who seems like just your type, and decide to meet up with them, be sure to have your own form of transportation. Do not rely on this person to pick you up or drop you off. Because you will be meeting in a public place, you can each bring your own transportation and meet at the location. Even if you guys decide to go somewhere else and continue the meeting, do not drive together. You need to get to know the person and build some trust before you step into a vehicle with them.

If you choose to meet face-to-face for the first time at a bar, restaurant, or club, be sure not too drink too much alcohol. If the person is planning on taking advantage of you, it will only help their cause if you are inebriated. Keep a clear mind and avoid drinking on your first encounter. It wouldn't hurt to let a friend or family member know that you are meeting an online friend for the first time, just so somebody knows where you are. When you meet up, do not leave any of your personal belongings out of sight, especially your keys, your wallet, and your phone.

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