As with all online activity, there is a degree of risk involved in online dating, and as a responsible adult, you need to ensure that you are aware of these risks.
Regardless of this, online dating is still a wonderful way to meet a potential partner. If you haven’t yet decided on a dating site, visit NaughtyDate.com and see if it can help you find your soulmate.
Here are 5 practical safety tips to consider while using an online dating site.
It is essential for you to remain anonymous. Use a username that has no link to you, and never mention your last name.
You should leave out any other personal information that could be used to trace you. This means: limited pictures with no visual landmarks, no contact details, no last name and no address.
You also should not mention which schools you attended or whether you have kids. We may not like to think about it, but child trafficking is a serious problem.
It is best to only use your personal computer when logging into the dating site, as public or shared computers can make it possible for others to steal your information and use your account.
Open WIFI networks, while appealing, are not secure. I, personally, never use free WIFI in coffee shops and libraries. We always need to ensure that our online presence is completely secured and protected against cyber-attacks. Using open WIFI networks only makes it easier for your computer to be compromised.
You also should be wary when receiving emails from unknown sources or new acquaintances, as these emails could contain malware. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to ensure that your internet security (anti-virus) is regularly updated.
Fraud could refer to people, or even the dating sites themselves.
It would be best to only use a site that is a member of the Online Dating Association, as they have certain codes and ethics that need to be adhered to.
Fraudulent sites will create fake profiles to strike up conversation with you to keep you spending money. Alternatively, they could stop sending you potential matches as soon as you’ve made a certain amount of payments.
They could even steal your money by using unsecure payment systems to store your bank account details.
On the other hand, people could try to create online relationships with you to get money from you. Blackmail (use your webcam to record you, for example) and phishing emails (used to get your personal information) are just two of the potential methods used.
Take your time to get to know the person before deciding if you want to meet him/her.
Don’t rush into anything or allow yourself to be pressured into a meeting. If you’re getting strange vibes from someone, pull the plug on your interactions and report them if it becomes a serious problem or they make you uncomfortable in any way.
Do research and listen to your instincts.
These meetings should always be in public and during the day.
Again, no last names or address, and drive yourself to and from the meeting place. Go home alone. Avoid alcohol and keep an eye on your food and drink to avoid being drugged.
If your date is giving you bad vibes or making you uncomfortable, make an excuse and leave. As I said, trust your instincts.
Most of the people on dating sites are genuine and honest, and you are likely to meet someone good. But, there are few bad ones, and you need to understand this.
So, be cautious, but hope for the best.
Kayla studied Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) in Management Marketing at Boston Business College in Cape Town. She is currently on a very exciting journey of becoming a travel writer through enhancing her skills by writing about safaris, adventure and travel tips.