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Online dating: Safety Tips for Meeting Potential Partners In Person

Internet Dating

Online dating has some advantages over conventional dating. It provides convenient and wide access to potential partners, especially for those who lack such access.  Mathematical algorithms can provide daters with a basic sense of compatibility before meeting in person, and people can get to know each other online to see if it makes sense to meet offline. There is no doubt that cyber dating comes with risks, however, online dating also has the potential to improve the process of finding a committed and emotionally satisfying romantic relationship.

Internet Dating Sites

In March of 2012, the office of the Attorney General signed a Joint Statement of Key Principles of Online Dating Site Safety with major dating sites including eHarmony and Match.com. Dating sites are required to educate and empower members and to screen for registered sex offenders. But laws change and improve slowly and technology and behaviors evolve rapidly. Therefore the ultimate responsibility falls upon each individual using the Internet.  Before creating an online dating profile, it is wise to read and follow each dating site’s safety guidelines.

To minimize risks during the online “getting to know you” stage, read, Internet Dating:  5 Ways to Stay Safe Online.  When meeting a potential partner in person for the first time, here are some safety suggestions:

1.  Share your plans and destination with someone who can follow up on your safety

  • Let them know who you are meeting, where you are meeting, when you are meeting and when you plan to return
  • Set up one or more times to be in touch during your date
  • Let your date know that someone is expecting to hear from you

2.  Consider “double-dating” or taking someone with you for your first offline date

  • Doube-dating can take a lot of the fear out of your first offline encounter
  • If double-dating is not an option, consider having someone accompany you and then leave after meeting your date. Add another layer of safety by having that person pick  you up at an allocated time
  • If you cannot double-date or have someone accompany you, you can ask someone to observe discreetly from a distance without intruding on your date

Fully charged cell phone3.  Keep a cell phone with you at all times

  • Make sure your cell phone is fully charged and take a charger with you for long distance travel

4.  Drive yourself or arrange your own transportation

  • Do not accept a ride from or enter the vehicle of the person you are meeting offline for the first time

5.  Meet in a public place

  • For the first date, its a good idea to meet during the day
  • Make sure the meeting place is well-populated and well-lit, day or night
  • Stay in well-populated areas for the entire first date
  • Do not go to remote or private areas
  • Avoid areas without cell phone reception

6.  Do not reveal the location of your home, hotel or place where you are staying

  • For out of town dates, never stay with your potential partner and do not tell your date where you are staying
  • Do not go to your date’s home or invite your date to your home the first time you meet

7.  Always be aware of your surroundings

  • If you have a beverage, keep an eye on it at all times so that nothing can be put in it (drugs)
  • If you need to leave for any reason without your drink, (to go to the bathroom, for example) ask for a fresh drink when you return
  • Keep track of all personal belongings – especially items that contain personal information such as your wallet and cell phone

No Alcholol

8.  Stay sober

  • Avoid drugs and alcoholic drinks when you meet for the first time to stay alert and in control of your decisions and actions
  • Do not do anything that could impair your judgment or put your safety at risk

Taking an online relationship offline can be exciting, fun, frightening and dangerous at the same time.  At both the online and offline stages, the message remains consistent – use common sense and always exercise care and vigilance when using Technology, the Internet and Social Media.

Until next time… stay Cyber Safe!

32 replies
  1. Sasha Cohen
    Sasha Cohen says:

    This is a great blog post. I have been the victim of an online dating scam.I have always had relationship issues and have started to follow the advice of Dr. Robi Ludwig. I saw her on a tv show once and I really appreciated her take on current dating issues. I found her YouTube channel and have really enjoyed her outlook on relationships.

  2. tracy
    tracy says:

    I enjoyed reading all the great tips in the article and the comments too. I’d like to briefly share my own experience: when i was to meet Steve in a real-life date after being friends online, i was a bit nervous and scared at first. So i did a lot of searching and found a site called BackgroundInstantReport, which allowed me to carry out a background check on him. Well he came out clean and that made me a little relaxed while i was with him. So for anyone who is in a similar situation i’ll recomend BackgroundInstantReport.

  3. Tanya from African American Dating
    Tanya from African American Dating says:

    The online dating site you like to choose will also depend on your sexual orientation, interests, personality and religion. Remember that there are variety of dating sites that cater to the straight people, bisexual, gay and lesbian when it comes to sexual orientation while some cater to religion like for Catholics, Jews, Muslim and among other religions. There a lot to look for when it comes to different varieties and all you need is to browse the internet and check them out.

  4. Abhishek Bhan
    Abhishek Bhan says:

    Very useful and great tips you have provided Hayley. Are these from your personal experience 🙂 Well there is one thing that I would like to add but that thing comes into play when you are looking for some serious relationships. And that thing is that you have to be very honest about yourself.

    • Hayley Kaplan
      Hayley Kaplan says:

      Glad you found my tips to be useful, Abhishek. I was married prior to Internet dating so these tips are not from my direct personal experience. However, indirectly, I came up with these tips by doing research to help keep close single friends and family safe – including my own kids should they choose to meet anyone in person that they first met online, not necessarily dating related.

  5. natasha
    natasha says:

    in evrey dating website you will find fake profiles and scammers! but you will also find genuine profiles of serius women who are looking for serius men, just be careful and dont ever give important information online (credit cards numbers, bank account etc…

  6. Peter
    Peter says:

    Hi, all , you can get background checks done by any good security company in the USA, Or any where in the world Just Use the web to find them . Any background checks company may be good, see which one you would like to work with There are many good ones out there to use .

    • Hayley Kaplan
      Hayley Kaplan says:

      Great suggestion, Peter. Thank you for identifying an important option available to daters to increase their safety.

  7. Lynette Turner
    Lynette Turner says:

    As part of my service I interview all clients and possible candidates in their own homes and I check ID and residential status, which means all my clients have the comfort of knowing everyone they meet is who they say they are. No nasty surprises,no time wasting and they have a good understanding before the date of what that person is like, their likes, dislikes and their hopes for the future

    • Hayley Kaplan
      Hayley Kaplan says:

      It sounds like you provide a high quality service for your clients, Lynette. I doubt there are many on-line dating sites that can make that claim. (and hopefully you take whatever steps are necessary to protect yourself in the process!) Please share the link to your site or give more information about your service for those who may be interested.

  8. Peter
    Peter says:

    HAYLEY KAPLAN posted a story on linked-in which I so agree with , it is up to the dater of both men and woman to check out the person that is going to be a date or online friend. There are many ways that some one can check , first is the person on line in any social network that he/she has a lot of interaction with , second do a back ground check from a company that is a specialist in the field . Next do tell a friend where you are going and what time you will call back to confirm that all is right , and lastly NEVER leave the place of meeting on the first date , for any reason .

    • Hayley Kaplan
      Hayley Kaplan says:

      Peter, those are all important points you’re emphasizing. I especially like your point about trying to get information via different social media outlets – I failed to specify this idea in my article. Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  9. Hayley Kaplan
    Hayley Kaplan says:


    From: Sandy
    Subject: Background checks

    You recently posted a question on LinkedIn about Dating Safety “Safety tips to minimize online dating risks while getting to know potential partners and especially when meeting for the first time in person” .

    I replied that an important part of dating Safety is also to do a background check; preliminarily – see my blog (www.checkoutadate.com)as to what an individual can minimally do to check someone out but also commented that a thorough background check should be done before letting a “love interest” into our heart and home especially those with children. Dating safety should be considered by both men (more financial & identity theft)and women(physical safety and financial (scammers). I do a background check on any man I date before I get into their car.

    There are companies that access some databases not open to the public but caution should be used to make sure they are done by Licensed Private Investigators (PI) who have access to law enforcement information. My company because my business is in Arizona, USA requires all background check be performed by Licensed PI’s.

    An example, I had a client who we did a background check for iand the report came up with 92 pages; he had 27 aliases and 27 women he had lived with in a 10 year period. I was to give a presention about my company to a networking group so I thought I would run the same man through one of the companies advertised on TV to compare our services Their report came up with only 2 pages and NO ALIASES. Admittedly he did not have a criminal record but a definite lack of character and he targeted women who were comfortable financially. After she broke up with him he went psycho on her, stalked her, and even tried to sue her for alienation of affection.

    There are some communities that have not digitized their criminal records but so far I have had only one case. It happened that it was what my someone I dated and he knew what my business was and told me about it. He had spent a year in jail due to a business he and his wife owned and was accused of fraud regarding a health food supplement. The community was in a rural Idaho so were not digitized.

    Another Red Flag should be if you can’t find ANYTHING at all when you do a search on Google or the site you mentioned (Knowyourman.com). In this day in age there is something on everybody good or bad. By the way I ran my boyfriend through that site it had minimal info and had links to sites that had moreinfo from databases but not performed by Licensed Private Investigators.

    The difficulty is not that there are more bad people out ther but the mobility of people in our society. We don’t have the people who really know them that we can rely on like we did in high school, college, communities or co-workers where if some ones chararacter or criminal actions were soon learned.

    I hope this answers your questions, feel free to ask more if you need more info through LinkedIn (CheckOutADate or my website. Although my company is located in Arizona we have access to info all over the US and have contacts in Canada and Australia.

    This mail is sent via contact form on What Is Privacy? https://what-is-privacy.com

  10. Karl Kasca
    Karl Kasca says:

    Great post with lots of practical advice about dating safety face-to-face in-real-life, Hayley!

    There are also smartphone apps which can help one follow your excellent tips above. Just Google:

    dating safety apps

    And of course, you could try KnowYourMan.com to help make smart and safe dating decisions.

    Hoping you find your ideal life partner,


    Karl Kasca (@KarlKasca)

    PS: And stay tuned for the relaunch of our site, which will make finding some background check info immediately available.

    • Hayley Kaplan
      Hayley Kaplan says:

      Thanks for the great suggestions and kind feedback, Karl. I signed up with a dating service to help screen dates for a relative who was frightened to do it herself. It went well at first but got complicated a few months down the line so I deactivated the profile. I am happily married to my ideal life partner so thanks for those wishes – we’ll send them along to others in search of theirs.

      It was brought to my attention that I missed the suggestion to get background checks before meeting in person. Glad to see this will be a feature of your updated site. Look forward to checking it out when it launches as this is an excellent suggestion.

  11. Findlay
    Findlay says:

    The best safety advice is to join a reputable dating site such as attracion(dot)com where you can use the video chat feature to get to know someone from the comfort and safety of your own home BEFORE agreeing to meet them in person.

    • Hayley Kaplan
      Hayley Kaplan says:

      Hi Findlay,
      You are right. It is important to videochat before meeting in person. But I think people need to get to know a bit more about each other before getting to the video chat stage. Feel free to give some information about your dating site … it’s not one I’m familiar with.

  12. Sandy Heart
    Sandy Heart says:

    Don’t forget to do a preliminary background check (see my blog) before you get into their car,go to their home or expose your children to them. Before becoming intimate do a complete background check so you know who they really are.

    • Hayley Kaplan
      Hayley Kaplan says:

      Thanks for that suggestion, Sandy. Please will you expand on how you do that and what kind of information you can expect to find in a background check? Feel free to include the link to your blog since this is not an area I have done much research on.

  13. Faye F.
    Faye F. says:

    It sure has changed a lot since I was single 22 years ago. I will be sure to send this link to all single people who are looking.
    Lot’s of good pointers. Thanks Hayley.

  14. Elaine
    Elaine says:

    I’ve been out of the dating scene for 25 years, and hopefully will remain so, but will pass on this good advice to all of my single friends. Thanks!


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