Online Dating Safety for Urbanites
If you live in a big city, then odds are you've met your fair share of dates at a bar or singles event. However, some people find such settings to be a bit skeezy, which is why many choose to date online. The internet can be an excellent place to find a potential partner, but it's essential that even the most street smart urbanites practice caution. Here are some pieces of online dating advice for women and men who love the concrete jungle.
Choosing a Website
One of the most important decisions you'll make is picking out the service you want to use. The best way to decide on a dating website is to figure out which ones are popular in your area. For example, OKCupid may be the most commonly used site in New York City's dating scene, but across the country in LA, more people may be using eHarmony. Picking the most popular service won't just ensure that you get more dates - it could also protect your online security. Consider the adage "safety in numbers." If you're using a service that is popular among other members of your community, you can share your experiences with daters in your area, and alert one another to scammers using the site to lure unsuspecting victims into giving out personal data.
Interacting With Daters
Once you've selected a site, you'll need to practice safety when interacting with others on the service. Most websites allow you to send messages, which is a good way to get to know someone online. However, you must be careful when giving out personal information - it's never wise to share too much with someone you don't know well. Using an alternate email address and a virtual phone number that you can easily dispose of could save you a major headache if you run into someone who wants to scam you. Never, ever give out your home address until you've been dating someone for a while.
Setting Up the Date
Don't spend too much time chatting via the internet - instead, try to move the date to the real world as soon as you're ready. When setting up your first date, make sure you choose a safe, public place. Every city has its seedy areas, so if your date wants to meet you somewhere that seems dangerous, you should refuse outright. Instead, offer to meet up at a bar or restaurant that's in an area you know well.
City dwellers may be more savvy when it comes to safety, but they can't let their guard down simply because they're "dating from home." The world wide web is unfortunately full of people who want to exploit users, so you must be just as cautions when dating online as you would be walking down a city street.