• When you decide that you want to meet them face-to-face, pick a public place and let friends and loved ones know where you are going and when you plan to be home.
• Do keep your cell phone on your person and always keep your wallet or purse on you too--even when you go to the washroom. You do not want this stranger to have access to your personal information.
• Do drive yourself to your dates, stay perfectly sober, and remain in public locations. You do not want to go to your dates' house or have them to yours until you know them much better.
• Do not reveal your full name, home address, home telephone number, or your employer until you know them well. He or she may be a perfectly nice person, but they may also be a Jeffrey Dahmer or Lizzie Borden.
If you ever watch Dr. Phil, you have likely been both dazed and amazed by just how gullible some on-line daters can be. These seemingly normal people profess their undying love to kindred spirits that they have never met--sending them thousands of dollars and swallowing outrageous tales of misfortune and circumstance. Here are a few red flags that will tell you that you are dealing with a con.
• They use words like "destiny," "fate," or "soul mate" early in the relationship or profess that they can't live without you.
• They ask for money--no matter how little.
• They claim to be an American abroad.
• They want to "take your conversation" away from the online dating provider and to an outside chat room.
• They claim to have been recently widowed, falsely imprisoned, recently diagnosed with a terminal illness, or have been "deterred" in Afghanistan or Iraq.
• They make a large amount of grammar or spelling mistakes that could lead one to believe that English is not their first language.
• They "borrow" phrases and love poems from other sites.
• They try to get personal information out of you.
On-line dating is here to stay and it can be a great way to meet the person of your dreams. The trick is to use it wisely, protect yourself, and if it seems too good to be true--it probably is.
What tips do you recommend for protecting yourself on online dating sites?