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10 tips: Online Dating Safety

It's a good idea to take precautions when meeting people online, just as you would do in the offline world. The following tips are just some of the things you might want to consider as you begin online dating. These tips are not designed to scare you, but to encourage you to be smart, use common sense, play it safe, and have fun.

  • Remain anonymous. You should avoid being identified online. Start by getting a free, anonymous Mail account. Never give out your real name, phone number, or address in chat rooms or in personals ads. If you decide you want to give out personal information anyway, be sure you're giving it to someone you can trust.

  • Be honest. Be truthful in your personals profile and in online conversations. Make your intentions clear. If you're just flirting, be sure that the other person isn't taking you seriously. Being honest can prevent disappointment for both you and your potential date. Just remember - you could end up meeting this person. You don't want to hurt others' feelings with false impressions.

  • Always pay attention. Listen to your intuition - it's your best defense. Use common sense. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Even if you feel it, it's a smart idea to save saying "I Love You" for a face-to-face encounter. Pay attention to habits and moods - are they changing? If something doesn't feel right, feel free to stop communicating with that person.

  • Wait till you're comfortable to call. Let the other person bring up the idea of talking on the phone. When he or she asks for your number and you're not ready to give it out, politely say "no," but ask for a number you can call when you're ready. If you decide to call, pay attention to who answers the phone and the background noises you hear. Do they match what you know about the person?

  • Take it slowly. Spend as much time communicating electronically as is necessary for you to feel comfortable enough to actually meet the person. Don't be coerced into meeting face to face. If someone really wants to meet you, he or she will wait till you're ready


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