The best way to stay safe when using online dating services is to ensure your anonymity. There many information websites and services out that make it easy for internet savvy people to find you via your email, phone, or address. You can stay anonymous and protect your privacy with these ten tips to stay safe when online dating.
Stay anonymous in your profile.
- When writing your online dating profile, make sure that you stay completely anonymous. You can give potential dates information about your personality, but never, ever reveal any information that gives them any indication as to where you live or how to get in touch with you.
- Sign up for a free email address.
Visit Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail to sign up for a free email address. By signing up for a free email address, you ensure that you stay in control of communicating with potential online dating partners. If you ever feel uncomfortable, you can close the free account and end communications. Be sure to make sure that the email address you chose does not reveal anything personal about yourself.
- Keep your address private.
Never reveal your real name, home address, or phone number until you are completely comfortable in doing so. Make sure that you communicate via email until you feel comfortable with your potential date.
- Get a P.O. box and/or unlisted phone number.
You may want to sign up for a p.o. box at your local post office and/or unlist your phone number. Your safety is extremely important and signing up for these gives you added safety.
- Do not use sexy references.
When selecting your email address or user name, steer clear of any ‘sexy’ names. You’ll get noticed by using one, but generally by the wrong people.
- Tell the truth.
You want to protect yourself, but be honest at the same time. Let your potential dates get to know your personality, your likes and dislikes, and your thoughts and feelings. Do not let them know your private information such as location or anything that would identify you. You may also be nervous about using a photo, but rest assured that it’s ok to do so as long as you keep your other private 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 the 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. You can view several online dating red flags here.
- Use your email 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.
- Don’t be afraid to report them.
If you come across any potential dates that are lying, threatening, or mis-using the services, report them to the company.