Who says you can't find your Prince (or Princess) Charming through online dating? Experts say you may be able to, but you'd better take some precautions to protect yourself.
Online dating sites say they make dating easy and fun for everyone, the dating newbie and the seasoned player. Popular online dating sites like Match.com and eHarmony boast that more than 120 million singles worldwide have joined online dating websites searching for true love.
Regardless of your age dating can seem overwhelming and at times awkward. Online dating can seem like the perfect option for older people and the newly divorced that might want to test the dating waters online before they dive in and go out on a date in person.
However, experts warn that all online daters need to use their heads as well as their hearts when they fall head over heels for their online lover. If not, you could be vulnerable to financial or sexual ploys.
Here are some basic tips to make sure you get your heart’s desire rather than heartache:
- Don't put your last name, place of work, or address in your profile or username. Be catchy and unique but not too specific.
- Don't go to dinner or drinks for a first date. Meet in a public place, during daylight hours and be sure at least one friend knows who you are meeting, where and when. No matter how much fun you’re having, do not drink excessively.
- Too good to be true? Some estimates say 80% of online daters lie about their height, age or weight.
- Use the dating site’s message system and/or set up a third party email address. This makes it harder to get personal information about you.
- Be smart about location based mobile dating. Do you really want other users to know where you are all the time?
- Use a reputable dating service. Some experts think you should only use sites that provide a customer service phone number and a physical address on their website.
If the other person:
- Quickly asks to talk or chat on an outside email or messaging service
- Vanishes mysteriously from the site, then reappears under a different name
- Talks about "destiny" or fate"
- Claims to be recently widowed
- Claims to be from the U.S. but currently traveling, living or working abroad