A Little Background
I’ve been off the market since 1998 when I started dating my now-husband.
For the love of all that is holy, that is 21 years ago.
Back in 1998, the Internet existed, but was still in its infancy with chat rooms being all the buzz. Chat rooms.
For those who are unaware (and obviously younger than me), let’s just say chat rooms were the birth of online dating as you know it today.
Needless to say, I have zero experience with online dating. Zero.
So my advice to all you online daters out there does not come from personal experience, but from a female private investigator who places personal safety higher on the list than most.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with online dating. It’s not bad. Being a participant doesn’t mean you’re going to meet your doom one day if you stick with it long enough. In fact, I have many happily married friends who met via online dating.
Safety Tips for Online Dating
But if you plan to continue online dating or find yourself taking the plunge one day, here are a few tidbits to hopefully keep yourself safer than you would be without them:
Familiarize yourself with the platform(s) you use for online dating. Refrain from using platforms that have loose checks and balances in place.
Even when background checks are part of the process for a dating site, their results (or lack thereof) should not just automatically give you a green light. Most background checks are severely lacking in breadth and depth AND not every shady character has a record.
Be certain at least one friend or family member knows when and where you are meeting your online date and who you are meeting. Gather as much information as possible about your date before you meet them in person.
Always meet an online date in a very public place where there are loads of people.
Keep your address to yourself. Don’t let your online date pick you up at your house. It’s just a good rule of thumb for obvious reasons.
If something seems off, listen to your gut. After chatting with a person on an online forum, if something is telling you to stop communicating with them, listen to that still small voice inside you even when you can’t put your finger on it.
Fact check what they’ve told you. Google them. Hire someone to perform a background check on them.
Don’t list too much identifying information about yourself on your public dating profile. Keep it as generic as possible.
Don’t assume you know a person after one or two successful dates. You don’t.
Keep your GPS enabled while on your date. Just in case.
For More Reading
Check out my earlier blog post that’s also related to this content - How to Properly Investigate an Online Love Interest To Prevent Yourself From Being Duped