Online dating web site requires its members to enter information about themselves in their profiles for the sake of hooking up.  However, you must still be careful about what you post online.  There are plenty of sexual predators and scammers out there, and the last thing you would want to happen is fall prey to them when all you wanted was to meet potential dates.

The first and most important step is to find the perfect dating site for you. What online dating site is best?There are some dating sites that offer free registration and membership, but that only increases the chances of encountering undesirable characters online.  In addition, paid sites have a privacy clause to protect its members.  When signing up, make sure the online form you’re filling out is secure.  After you have completed your registration, take note of these five tips to staying safe when dating online.

Listen to your instincts.

Always keep your gut instincts sharp even without being graced by the physical presence of others.  You can ascertain a lot of things just by going through a person’s online dating profile.  You can check their photo, look at how they write, and they way they try to connect with you.  Any sign that alerts you something may be fishy should make you proceed with caution.  This is also applicable to profiles that may be too good to be true.

If you can’t trust your instincts, you can try to get feedback from other members of the online dating site who may have interacted with that particular person.  If what they say jives with your instincts, better stay clear of that person.

Don’t get too personal, too soon.

In exchanging personal messages, refrain from giving personal information straight away like your full name, address and phone number.  These pieces of information can be used to find out everything about you—where you live, where you work, your daily routine, etc. You must also be careful on what you share regarding your family and friends as you put them at risk too.

Be on the lookout for shady characters.

As mentioned, it is a good thing to rely on your instincts when browsing through different profiles when looking for potential dates.  Be careful of those profiles that are quite unclear, those who refuse to give out their last name, and those who ask too many questions but don’t reveal too much about themselves.  They might be hiding something big, like being married or having a troubled past.

I f you are already having an exchange with someone, learn to uncover peculiar behavior that makes you uncomfortable.  Signs of uncontrollable temper, bigotry, racism, perversion, or any other negative characteristics can be reported to the site’s admin or you can always block them from interacting with you online.

Don’t use a traceable email address like a personalized or work domain email account.

This is another essential factor in staying safe when online dating. Avoid using personalized email (one that bears your real name) or one you use for work (one that has your company name). Again, it’s not difficult to gather your personal information using search engines.

What you should do is register an email address and a username using a pseudonym.  You should keep your personal email and work email separate from your online dating activities.

Arrange meet ups only in a public place.

This is probably the most important tip in guarding your privacy when dating online. Agreeing to meet up in person doesn’t mean you can let your guard down at last.  On the contrary, this is when you should exercise the most caution.

You may be very attracted to this person, but insist on meeting in a public venue where you can’t be taken advantage of.  This first encounter should also be treated as a gauge of your date’s trustworthiness.  To be more on the safe side, tell somebody else of this meeting.  Better yet, let a friend tag along and have them stay where they can watch over you.  If all goes well, your friend can even provide you with feedback from a different perspective.
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