While most people you will find on online dating sites are genuine people looking for some fun and romance in their lives, as with everything on the internet there are always a few con artists out there, and as with any situation where you meet someone you don’t know, there is a small but real possibility they may not be as desirable a character as they seem. The dangers of online dating range from those that could just be a bit hurtful to find out about to those that could put you in real financial or physical danger. This shouldn’t put you off trying it, because if you are aware of the dangers you can easily protect yourself against them. Here are some of the risks and what you can do.
They may have lied
The person you are talking to may not have been entirely honest about themselves. This may just be a harmless white lie to impress you, maybe knocking a couple of years off their age, that you can get over and laugh about with them one day, but if it is something more serious, like they don’t tell you they are married, then you may have just wasted your time meeting someone you’d have never dreamed of dating if you’d known. One good way to check out if someone is all they seem to be in terms of their single status, occupation, location etc. is to suggest (after you’ve been talking a while so it isn’t weird!) becoming Facebook friends if they have an account. It may be easy to keep up a lie on an internet dating site, but much harder on something like Facebook where their friends and family will be there.
It could be a scam
Sadly, not all the people you meet online are genuinely interested in finding a date. Some may just want tour email address for spamming purposes, which is annoying but reasonably harmless, and others may be more long term con artists looking to make you fall for them and send them money. It is better to set up a new email address on gmail or similar to use for your online dating activity, not just to avoid it being too much of a problem if a spammer gets your email address, but also to protect your identity – from an email address you have been using for years it isn’t too difficult to find out a lot of other things about you. Never send someone money if you haven’t met them. If you do after you have met them, you are still doing so at your own risk. There are plenty of people you could be talking to who aren’t in financial difficulty instead.
They could be dangerous
It is rare, but there are the horror stories about people being assaulted and raped and all sorts on blind dates. When you arrange to meet someone, make sure a friend knows where you are going, and that the date takes place in a public place and you have your own transport to get home. Keep an eye on your drinks, and don’t get drunk. If you feel more comfortable, carry an alarm or whistle. As long as you take care of your personal safety, you will be fine, and if your date has nothing to hide they won’t mind at all, and will probably respect you for being sensible.