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Online Dating Safety Guidelines

The online dating guidelines below have been put together to help you avoid uncomfortable situations and other problems. Please read carefully and refer to these often!

Keep your anonymity.
TAKE YOUR TIME, and ask lots of questions. Don't give out any personal information, including your home or work email address. Get a good idea of what a person may be like before you give them your email address. You can set up free email accounts through services such as Yahoo, Juno, Hotmail, and others. Never give out your last name, home address, phone number, work information, or any other identifying information in your profile or initial emails. Don't communicate with anyone who attempts to pressure you into giving this information. Simply ignore them.

Use common sense and be cautious.
Don't believe everything you read or are told, whether it is on a profile, in an email , on the message boards, or in the chat room. Watch out for a person who is simply too good to be true. Watch closely for odd behaviour, the person may not be what he or she says. Trust yourself and your gut! You're responsible to take all the time you need to make sure a person is honest and trustworthy. If your gut tells you that someone is lying, they very likely are. Don't get hurt by becoming prematurely intimate with someone. Don't be in a rush to fall in love, it will happen when it happens.

Ask for a photo.
A photo will verify a person's profile information and give you a good idea of appearance. If you keep getting excuses, it is probable that he or she is trying to hide something.

Many on-line sites will scan in a photo for free, so there really aren't any good excuses for not doing it. A person may also send you a photo of somebody else. Be cautious.

Use the telephone, - use a pay phone first
At the right time, a phone call will tell you many things about a persons ability to communicate. Keep your number anonymous if possible, and use the conversation to find out more about the person to make sure you want to meet. Also call a work-mate, a friend, or a family member. The more people you talk to, the safer and more sure you will be. Only share your phone number when you feel absolutely sure about trusting the person. If you are being pressured to meet, don't go if at all uncomfortable. If you do decide to meet up, take the other precautions we advise below.

Meet only when you are ready.
Many times our excitement about a person makes us impatient.........Be Patient! One of the wonderful things about meeting somebody online is that you can gain so much information about a person before you feel you need to meet. You have NO obligation to meet anyone, ever. Stay away from any person who makes you uncomfortable.

Warning signs.
Behavior such as anger, demeaning or disrespectful comments, physically inappropriate comments and behaviour, intense frustration or attempts at pressuring or controlling you are obvious warning signs. Stay away from people like this, ignore them, they pose a threat to your safety. Below are a few more things to watch for:

- Information given to you about age, interests, appearance, marital status, profession, employment, and other information is inconsistent.
- If they will not speak to you on the phone after establishing an ongoing relationship.
- If they dodge and will not directly answer questions.
- If in person they are quite different from his or her online profile.
- If they will not introduce you to friends, work-mates, professional associates or family members.

Meeting for the first time, never go alone.
Take a friend, always! Choose the safest possible environment. Even if you think you know every detail about a person and you trust them implicitly, meet in public where there are many people around. Also, tell someone where you are going and when you will be back. Give your date's name and telephone number or any other information to that person. Use your own transportation to get to and from the date. Go somewhere very familiar to you. Be brief, one or two hours is plenty. There is no need for a 5-10 hour date! You will have plenty of time for that later. If your date disagrees with this guideline or any of the guidelines listed here, you shouldn't meet that person.

Traveling far to meet someone.
Use your own transportation always. Don't allow your date to make the arrangements. If the location where you are meeting seems unsafe, awkward, or inappropriate - go back to your hotel. And of course, make sure a friend or family member knows your plans and has your contact information. Take a mobile phone with you if you can.

How to get out of a jam.
Just leave. Its always better to be safe than sorry. Your safety is obviously more important than worrying about embarrassment, your behavior, or what another person may think of you. Just leave.

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Online dating safety guidelines