Protect Yourself from the Dangers of Internet Dating
The concept of internet dating services is rather simple. You register, make your profile, and then find other members by browsing through their profiles. If you are interested in a particular person, you send a message. The other person then responds. Or someone who might be interested in you would send a message that you'd respond to. Anything beyond that, such as meeting in person, exchanging of particulars, and others, would be your call.
Because these sites are free, practically anybody can be a member. And because of the large membership, it would be hard for the website host to monitor, more so regulate, the individual activities of their members. Rarely do they perform background checks or screenings of new members.
Now this is where the dangers usually lie. It is part of human nature to trust other people. The problem is people can be too trusting at times. For example, during the first meeting or date, the girl invites the guy to dinner at her place. The guy turns out to be an ex-convict or serial killer. Take note of internet dating rule number 1: for the first meeting, always meet in a public place. That way, you can easily ask for help just in case things you need it. Friends can also be there to serve as "lookouts." This is not to scare you, but there are some horror stories of date rape and even death as a result of online dating. That is why it is important to be careful at all times.
Another kind of internet fraud is to pretend to lose some money in any way imaginable, such as by robbery or hospitalization. He or she then asks for money from the other person. Never give money or credit card information to anyone, even if you think you trust the person enough.
To avoid these, here are some things that you can do. First, never post personal information in your profile. This should be reserved when you've developed a level of confidence and trust with the person. Also, take note of any changes in attitude or behavior of the person you are talking to. Erratic changes in behavior and mood swings are some symptoms of serious mental disorders.
Free internet dating services can be safe venues to meet and get to know people. But like everything else in the internet, do not take everything based on face value alone. Conduct some research about the website. See if there are any negative comments from past members. Take note of the safety precautions and keep the danger signs in mind always. Whether for free or not, internet dating would still be risky if we don't know how to avoid its perils.
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