Safety 101

Advice on staying safe while meeting with someone you don’t know. It’s hard to determine what is right and what is wrong in online dating. We want you to keep safe while having fun. Here are some strategies to do just that.

Safety Rules for Online Dating

By Seena Brown
Courtesy of Match.com’s Happen magazine

Online Dating Safety 101 - Dreams of MilkWant to keep things safe and fun when looking for The One? Follow these simple strategies to do just that.

No matter how we meet the people we end up dating, many of us will wonder a bit about safety. Online dating is no exception — in fact, the idea that you can share personal info with someone before you’ve met face-to-face can even exacerbate those worries. Never fear, though, experts say that online dating is as safe as any other method for meeting potential partners. Just follow these sensible strategies to make your dating life as safe, secure, and fun as you want it to be!

Stay-safe strategy No. 1: Talk on the phone a few times before arranging a meeting

Rather than falling head-over-heels for a profile and setting up a date, take your time. This will allow you to get a read on the person before you meet, according to Evan Marc Katz, CEO of E-Cyrano.com and author of I Can’t Believe I’m Buying This Book: A Commonsense Guide To Successful Internet Dating. “Many online daters get into a mindset of not wanting to spend too much time on the phone — they look at it as a waste of time,” he explains. “But it’s really an investment. You’re figuring out if this is someone you really want to meet.” If you pick up inconsistencies in their story or get a weird vibe during or after the call, don’t ignore it — take it as a sign that you two might not be a perfect match and move on. If you suspect someone is lying, he or she probably is, so act accordingly, recommends Kristin Kelly, spokesperson for Match.com.

Stay-safe strategy No. 2: Meet in a public place

Regardless of where you met someone (online or in line at the bank), don’t accept an invitation to dinner at his or her place…nor should you be planning a wilderness hike as your first rendezvous. Being in such solitary spots with an almost stranger won’t be relaxing. A safer bet, says Dave Evans, director of Online Dating and Discovery Research Advisory Service at www.corante.com, is to meet in a place where other people are present, like a café, bar or restaurant. Don’t get picked up at home; always provide your own transportation to and from your meeting place. As an added safeguard, tell a friend where you are going and when you will return, and leave your date’s name and phone number with your friend, says Kelly.

Stay-safe strategy No. 3: Don’t disclose too much personal info

Here’s another bit of advice that holds true whether you’re chatting with someone you just met online or in a bar: Don’t spill your entire life story. For example, feel free to tell your date what you do for a living, but there’s no need to divulge the name of the company where you work or which gym you belong to and when you usually go. If you date asks you something you don’t feel ready to share, just say, “I don’t usually tell people that until I know them better” — by establishing this is your policy across the board, your date won’t take it personally.

Stay-safe strategy No. 4: Call the shots

Remember that you are in control. You get to decide how much information to collect about a person — and when (if at all) you feel comfortable meeting someone offline. You’re never obligated to get together with anyone for a date, no matter how many e-mails you’ve exchanged, says Kelly. If for any reason you sense a red flag — say, the person you’re communicating with gives you inconsistent information, falls in and out of communication, or makes inappropriate remarks — then you can (and should) put the brakes on. And if you’re wondering what an inappropriate remark is, you’ll know it when you hear it: It’ll give you pause due to it’s being angry, disrespectful, too personal or overly sexual — or just plain beyond the usual boundaries of conversation. Let your instinct guide you.

Stay-safe strategy No. 5: Use your best judgment

Now that all this has been said, let’s pull back for a second. “Be safe, but not so paranoid that your worries are like a black cloud hanging over your date,” advises Katz. In his own online dating experiences, he’s encountered women who wouldn’t even tell him their first name – which, in his mind, is taking things a bit too far. “When you’re a nice guy and you’re treated like a criminal, it can be a bit off-putting,” he says. “Safety guidelines exist for a good reason, but you need to view each date on a case-by-case basis, and don’t let paranoia rule your experience.” Remember, getting involved with someone online is no more dangerous than meeting them any other way, and you should take some basic precautions in any dating situation. The benefits aren’t just your well-being, but increased comfort levels and confidence – qualities that always come in handy.

Online Dating by Alison Edwards

With online dating you can take as long as you want getting to know and trust someone via anonymous messaging. You date at your pace and you never have to reveal any personal details about yourself unless you wish to do so.

If you you’re thinking of joining an online dating agency or have already joined, be sure to practice safety guidelines.

Here are some dating tips to practice online followed by some “offline” dating tips should you decide to meet someone.

Online dating

  • Do not include any personal information in your profile, e.g. your home address, workplace address, email address or telephone number. Reputable dating sites make safety paramount so that their members can be part of a safe online dating environment and any personal information given in your profile will automatically be deleted.
  • Take your time getting to know someone online before revealing any personal information about yourself and before arranging to meet him or her. Take advantage of anonymous messaging facilities.
  • Don’t lie in your profile or fake your photograph. Remember, honesty really is the best policy so if you are serious about meeting someone genuine, be yourself.
  • It is a good idea to set up a free email account like Hotmail. This way you do not have use your main personal email address in the event that you no longer wish to have contact with a member.
  • Be careful if you think a member is lying to you. Beware of someone who:
  • Pressurises you to meet instantly.
  • Pressurises you for your personal contact information when they won’t provide personal information about themselves.
  • Is inconsistent with information about their age, marital status, employment etc.
  • Avoids answering reasonable questions directly.
  • Contradicts information shown on their profile or which they have previously told you.
  • Don’t be afraid to flirt a little if that’s how you feel but equally don’t be too flirtatious as it could be taken the wrong way. Never talk about sex or imply this is what you are looking for.
  • If someone is making you feel uncomfortable stop emailing him or her. Again, most reputable dating sites provide facilities for you to instantly block messages from a member who becomes a nuisance.

Offline dating

  • If you decide you would like to meet someone “offline” only pass on minimal information to begin with. Start with your email address then mobile telephone number. Both of these can be changed easily if necessary.
  • If you telephone another member use the blocking feature to prevent your number appearing on Caller ID.
  • If you arrange to meet someone, always ensure it is in a public place and preferably in daylight for the first meeting. Do not arrange any initial meetings at your home and never invite them into your home until you feel ready to do so.
  • Always let someone else know who you are going to meet, where you are going and what time you should be back home.
  • Take your mobile phone with you and keep it switched on.
  • Don’t drink too much and never leave your drink unattended ? keep your wits about you!
  • Take enough money for a taxi home and don’t accept a lift home with your date even if you they appear to be great person.

Finally, be sensible and trust your instincts ? they are usually right!

Reprinted from http://www.SnappyDates.com/ (no longer an active website)

Safe Calls

It doesn’t cost anything to be cautious. Don’t take chances when your mental, physical and emotional health could be at risk.

Do what’s right for you, but consider these or similar suggestions very seriously before agreeing to meet someone for the first time. Any person who is reputable and trustworthy will have no problems with these or similar procedures, and if they do, perhaps that is the warning signal that they are not what they appear to be.

The following information should be given to the person(s) receiving your safe calls:

  • Your full name
  • Your home address and phone number
  • Make, model, colour, and license plate number of your car if you are driving yourself, or detailed information if you are using other transportation.

ALL the information you have on the person you are meeting, including:

  • Their full name and computer username/s or logon IDs
  • Their address and telephone phone numbers
  • Their age, description, any and all information you have on the person you are meeting.

Tell your safe call person(s):

  • Where you are meeting
  • The name of place you are meeting
  • The address of the meeting place, including room number (if applicable) and phone number (if you do not have it ahead of time, give it during first phone call)
  • When you are meeting – time and date

Telephone your safe call person(s):

  • Be sure to have agreed and understood code words for your safe call, one indicating that everything is okay (e.g. This is a lovely place), and one indicating that you need help (e.g. Don’t forget to feed the cat for me.).
  • The first phone call should be made within 15 minutes of the established meeting time.
  • The second phone call should be made within 1 hour after the first.
  • The third phone call should be made within 2 hours after that or before leaving the place of the meeting, whichever comes first.
  • The fourth phone call should be made within 30 minutes of leaving the meeting.
  • If the meeting lasts longer than 3 hours, phone calls should be made no less than every 2 hours apart until you part company … then proceed with the departing call and the last call.

What is a Red Flag?

“Red flag” is a term to describe a personal trait or behavior that is common in people who are harmful to their partners. When getting to know someone online it is very important that you look for these red flags. When you see these red flags slow down or stop the relationship. Understand that none of these red flags alone are definitely a sign of a bad person. They only tend to be an indicator of a problem situation. The more you see these red flags, the more you are at risk. Many of these red flags can apply to both unhealthy men and women.

  • Tries to separate you from your friends, family or family.
  • Avoids talking about personal details.
  • Gets mad when you ask questions or quickly ends the conversation when you do or answers questions with questions.
  • Has no references or friends you can talk to.
  • Gets angry when you ask for references or ask around about them.
  • Is inconsistent with details about themselves.
  • Does not give you their home and work phone number at the appropriate time. Only communicates with you at strange hours and gets mad if you try to contact them at other times.
  • Criticizes the community and refuses to participate, especially if they never were part of it.
  • Consistently breaks promises.
  • Always finds excuses for not meeting,
  • Always puts blame on others for things going wrong.
  • Does not take personal responsibility.
  • Has a bad relationship with most or all of their family members.
  • Pressures you into doing things you do not want to do.
  • Does not respect your limits, negotiations or contracts.
  • Pushes you into a relationship too fast.
  • Falls in love with you way too fast and swears undying love before even meeting you.
  • Tries to make you feel guilty for not being good enough.
  • Loses control of their emotions in arguments and regresses to yelling, name-calling and blame.
  • Puts you down in front of other people.
  • Turns instantly on their friends, going from best friend to arch enemy at the drop of a hat.
  • Treats you lovingly and respectfully one day and then harshly and accusingly the next.
  • Goes to great lengths to get revenge on people.
  • Lies or withholds information.
  • Cheats on you or is overly jealous.
  • Will not discuss what your possible future relationship could be like.
  • Tries to keep you in the dark about what might happen next in the relationship. Does not respect your feelings, rights, or opinions.
  • Belittles your ideas.
  • Blames you for your hurt feelings.
  • Abuses alcohol or other drugs.
  • Is constantly asking for large amounts of money from you or others.
  • Threatens suicide or other forms of self-harm.
  • Deliberately says or does things that result in getting themselves seriously hurt.
  • Monitors your communications (emails, phone calls, chats) with others.
  • Only interacts with you in a kinky or sexual manner as if role-playing.
  • Will not have normal everyday vanilla conversations.
  • Never shows you their human side.
  • Is emotionless.
  • Hides their vulnerability.
  • Has multiple online identities for interacting with the same communities. Disappears from communication for days or weeks at a time without explanation. Is rude to public servants such as waitresses, cashiers and janitors.
  • >Never says thank you, excuse me or I am sorry to anyone.