, , , , ,

Internet Dating – 5 Ways to Stay Safe Online

On-Line Liars

It is true!

When it comes to online dating, it’s obvious, but I’m going to say it anyway. People lie! Some do it to protect themselves or to appear more desirable and others seek dishonest financial gain. Predators and stalkers can pose as people of all ages and Law Enforcement may create fake profiles to capture criminals or to protect citizens. Parents or grown children may misrepresent themselves simply to protect loved ones. In fact, I created and managed an online dating profile to screen dates for a relative.  My intentions were golden but it got complicated very quickly so, I won’t be doing that again. With all this in mind, here are some important survival skills for online daters:

1.  Guard your identity and location ferociously

  • Limit personal information in online dating profiles
    • Do not share real name, email or home address, phone numbers or place of employment
    • Do not post current school, college or university
    • Keep in mind that it is simple to track personal information (address, phone number, age and more) with a first name, a last name and a city
  • Limit access to your information by strangers

    FB “Restricted” Friends

    Do not give strangers access to your social networking sites. The abundant personal information is a predator’s dream come true

    • If you must connect with strangers on Social Networking Sites, limit their access
    • Set up privacy restrictions to give only  trusted people access to personal information and activities
  • Understand GPS and Geolocating on your devices and Social Media
    • Consider turning off GPS on your cell phones and cameras unless you want people to know where you are
    • To keep your location private, avoid sending or posting images from GPS enabled devices

2.  Keep your online access information confidential

  • Avoid public or shared computers where login information can be traced
  • Avoid automatic login features and do not save passwords to avoid entering a password
  • Keep login information and passwords private
Skype Faceless and Video Calls

Skype Video and Non-Video calls can be useful

3.  Remain anonymous until you feel comfortable

  • Use dating site messaging and instant chat instead of phones or personal email.
  • Use a separate email account that doesn’t use your real name. (Gmail, Hotmail , Yahoo. or see DMOZ directory of free web-based mail services)
  • If you prefer to talk, use Skype to call without revealing your phone number or chat without video until you are ready to reveal more
  • Block and report verbally abusive people
  • Block and report those who pressure you for personal or financial information
  • If you become uncomfortable or are asked for information you don’t want to reveal, tell the person you are not comfortable because you don’t know them yet. If they are accepting, continue to get to know each other.  If not, end the communication and relationship right there

4.  Understand that people may not be honest with you

Liar On-Board

Good and Evil People Lie

  • Profiles of daters may contain false information
  • Photos can be of someone else or they may not be current or accurate
  • People may withhold information to protect themselves, just as I’ve advised you to do
  • People may have motives for being on dating sites that have nothing to do with dating (predators, stalkers, thieves)

5.  Get to know the person “well enough” before scheduling an in-person meeting

  • Ask lots of questions
  • Stay away from anyone who:
    • … makes you uncomfortable
    • … won’t take no for an answer
    • … is verbally abusive
    • … pressures you for personal or financial information
  • Before  you meet in person, know the real identity of the person you are meeting so you can do some research on them
    • This is a good time to video chat or use Skype video
    • Ask for access to public or personal Social Media profiles and get a feel for who they are and who their other friends are
    • Search for information on Google and sites such as Pipl.com.
    • Be tactful, but if necessary, find a way to contact a reliable source to verify the stranger is who they say they are before meeting in person

Staying safe online is important, but staying safe in person is critical.  The follow up to this article will provide important safety tips for taking your on-line relationship offline and staying safe when you meet face-to-face for the first time.

If you have any online dating experiences or suggestions for others, please share in the comment section following this article.

Until next time … Stay Cyber Safe.

8 replies
  1. Karl Kasca
    Karl Kasca says:

    Great tips, Hayley…and thanks for the shout-out re: using KnowYourMan.com to find information about men whom women are considering dating!

    One other tip re: Skype for your blog readers: You can sign up for a Skype phone number and set that number as the # which shows on Caller ID.

    This way no one will see your real phone number, yet the person you’re calling on Skype won’t see “Unknown” caller on their caller ID.

    However, they may see your real area code, if you chose your real area code when setting up your Skype phone number.

    But area codes usually cover fairly large geographical areas, so I’d think this would be ok. If not, you could always set up your Skype # with another area code. The downside there is that they may think you’re calling from outside of their physical area and not answer your call.

    Here’s the scoop on how to set up a Skype number:
    https://support.skype.com/en/faq/FA256/how-do-i-set-up-my-skype-number

    And here’s how to set-up your Skype #, so it shows up on Caller ID when you call people:
    https://secure.skype.com/account/caller-id/request

    Your readers may also enjoy our blog post on: “10 Tips for Using Online Dating Sites More Effectively from Online Dating Study”:
    http://blog.knowyourman.com/10-tips-for-using-online-dating-sites-more-effectively-from-online-dating-study/

    We’ll be eagerly looking forward to your next post, as you always provide such well-researched and practical info which people can immediately put into use.

    Best success (to you…and to your readers who date),

    Karl Kasca (@KarlKasca)
    KnowYourMan.com, co-founder
    http://KnowYourMan.com/

    PS: Just wanted to let you know that we’ll be relaunching our site with a new and improved design which will provide even better and easier to use search results soon, so please stay tuned for that. 🙂

    Reply
    • Hayley Kaplan
      Hayley Kaplan says:

      Karl, thank you very much for the useful details on setting up Skype for anonymous calling. Looking forward to seeing the new and improved Knowyourman site which is a helpful and handy resource for daters. Can you please give a basic summary of what http://KnowYourMan.com/ offers? Also, can you discuss if a woman’s name can be entered on the site too? I tested it by adding my name and it seems to work for both sexes.

      Reply
      • Karl Kasca
        Karl Kasca says:

        You’re very welcome, Hayley, and thanks for the opportunity to describe more about what our site does.

        KnowYourMan.com helps “take the blind out of dating” by offering free searches (of a person’s name) to empower you with the online tools for smart and safe dating decisions.

        Know Your Man uses advanced searches of social networking sites and the web and also accesses some info directly from some personal information-based websites, like LinkedIn.

        We also have a Facial Analysis page which provides a “Personal Profile” by analyzing 18 different personality characteristics from a photo for a small fee.

        And if you upload another photo you can see the “Compatibility Profile” for both people, again based on 18 different personality traits…for a small fee.

        However, please note that we’re still working out some kinks in the Facial Analysis on our current website, so please stay tuned for our new site (with the same name and internet address) when it relaunches.

        We also have blog posts which show step-by-step instructions (and videos) of how to find even more info about people like their: Salary, age, meaning of their name, marital status, etc.
        http://blog.knowyourman.com/
        – Don’t miss our “Older Entries” where some of these posts are shown.

        Our site was designed for the needs, desires, and concerns of women who are dating. The reasons are simple: Safety, security, compatibility, and ultimately happiness in a relationship or marriage.

        Many of our advanced searches were precisely targeted to answer the questions which over 350 women told us they wanted to know about men they were considering dating in a survey they took prior to the creation of our website.

        That said, a number of our searches provide great results for women’s names as well.

        With that in mind there may be a “Know Your WOMAN” site someday which will have advanced searches specifically targeted for the needs and desires of men. But right now we’re focusing on helping women with their safety, security, and other concerns.

        Thanks again for allowing me to let your readers know more about our site and how it works.

        Wishing *all* of your readers safe, happy, and fruitful dating experiences,

        Karl

        Karl Kasca
        KnowYourMan.com

        Reply
        • Hayley Kaplan
          Hayley Kaplan says:

          I understand a lot of research for the site was based on answers from women regarding what they’d want to know about their men. That said, I’ll point out that the site can also be used for same-sex relationships.

          I couldn’t resist typing in a few names to see the results. I’m impressed – it works. Daters will be happy. Privacy advocates, not so much. But this is the reality of the world we live in today.

          Thanks for all the great information, Karl.

          Reply
          • Karl Kasca
            Karl Kasca says:

            Hayley, yes, absolutely our KnowYourMan.com website can be used for same-sex dating and at some time in the future we may have site(s) focused on the dating needs and desires of the GLBT community(ies).

            – Many of KnowYourMan.com’s current searches are specifically trying to address the questions and concerns of women, but that doesn’t limit many of the other search results from providing helpful and useful info for all people.

            Re: privacy, we’d suggest that people who are concerned should read any of your excellent posts on privacy settings and adjust them accordingly if they don’t wish to be found.

            Re: your kind comments about the results on our site, “Thanks!” and just know that our new site will have even better and easier-to-use results when it’s relaunched.

            Take care and best success,

            Karl

            Karl Kasca (@KarlKasca)
            KnowYourMan.com

            Reply
  2. Stephanie
    Stephanie says:

    This is very timely. My girlfriend just had a meeting today with someone she met through an online service. I forwarded her your blog. This is very valuable information! Thanks Haley!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *