Dating has never been easy. You have to expose yourself to a new person and share your thoughts and ideas with them. And you do all this in order to find a mate; a person whom you can love and spend your life with. The internet made this much easier. Through the anonymity of the internet and a personal computer, you could connect with multiple partners and then pick people whom you could actually meet face-to-face.
Although this made the dating process easier, internet dating came with its own dangers. Unscrupulous people started using the relative anonymity offered by the internet dating process to carry out a range of frauds. Identity theft, fraud and even criminal injury were reported and are still very common. However, internet dating is not all bad. With a few simple precautions, you can ensure that internet dating works for you while still protecting your personal details.
Steps to Protect Yourself
Ideally, you should follow these precautions while using any website on the internet. However, we have streamlined these safety rules and we urge you to follow these steps before you start online dating.
Step no one — Set up an anonymous email id
Hackers find it very easy to get your name and address from your email id. We recommend that you set up an email id that is only to be used for online dating. While setting up the account, make sure that you put in an alias, a fake address and a fake geographical location. This will ensure that even if the account is hacked, the invader does not have accurate details for identity theft.
Step no two — Enroll with a reliable dating website
There are several different types of dating websites online. Make sure that you find a reliable website that has a regularly updated security certificate. The website should also provide a guarantee about your personal information and how it is shared with third-party websites. We also urge you to be very careful while filling in the account information. Make sure you un-tick any boxes that authorize third-party sites to use your information.
Step no three — Be careful with your personal information
Now that you’ve set up your website and filled in the account and personal information, you’ve got to be careful about how you interact with people that the website has found for you. Never share any personal information like telephone numbers, addresses, children’s names, school locations, etc with strangers. Stick to general topics and you should be fine.
Step no four — Be aware of common online dating frauds
Scammers will usually try to strike up a relationship quickly so that they can cheat you. We suggest you keep yourself informed about the most common dating scams. A few of the current frauds and danger signs you should be aware of include:
- The scammer will send a photo of themselves which shows a very attractive person. They will then state that they are in a difficult situation and require urgent cash for a visa/medical/ family emergency. They might claim to be a native of your country as well.
- They may encourage you to meet them in person and to bring cash. Never do this and always inform friends and family if you plan to travel to these areas to meet a person you met online.
- DO NOT accept money from people online. This is considered money laundering and one variety of scam is common where the person may send you money and ask you to keep it for a short period of time.
Although these are just general warnings, we encourage you to check with websites like Internationa Love Scout to learn more about dating and online scams.