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Protect Yourself! Top 10 Online Dating Safety Tips

You’ve heard the horror stories on the news; you don’t want to end up in tomorrow’s headlines. Caution is always needed when you are using an online dating site. Follow these online dating safety tips to protect yourself from online predators.

Keep personal information to yourself
When you start talking with a new person, you should use caution before giving out any personal information. Keep your address, home telephone number, financial information, work information, and even your last name to yourself to keep your kids and other family members protected. If you are asked a question that makes you uncomfortable, you do not have to answer it.

Don’t give in to pressure tactics
If the person you are emailing or exchanging instant messages (IMs) with keeps insisting on knowing your personal information, you might need to cool the conversations for a while. This should raise a red flag. You do not want to get into a relationship with someone who is controlling and does not respect your personal boundaries.

Maintain your anonymity
Stick with email and IM at first. You do not want to give out more personal information until you have met the person face to face. Set up a junk email account and use your cell phone instead of your home phone. Whether talking on the instant messenger, conversing through email, or talking on the phone, it is best to maintain security at all times.

Meet in a public place
Your first meeting should be in a public place. Some people even bring their friends or family members with them. Always let someone else know where you are going, when you should be back, and who you are going to be with.

Find your own transportation
Do not have your date pick you up at home, and do not plan to have him or her bring you home afterward. Make sure a safe return trip is also in place before starting out for the date.

Keep your children safe
If you have children, you don’t want to keep their existence secret, but keep the information about your children private. There is no reason to give any details about the children unless the first date leads to more dates.

Beware of anyone who is not quite single
Beware of people who appear to be married or involved with someone else. This will only lead to trouble in the end. You never know when an angry spouse might decide to take violent revenge when the affair is uncovered.

Don’t accept gifts sent to your home
It is romantic to receive gifts from someone, but you cannot have anything delivered to your home. Have the item made for pickup if it is flowers, or get a PO Box for letters and gifts. You need to be careful about receiving gifts from someone. The person sending the gift might consider this an act of acceptance and have a hard time letting go if you decide they are not the right one for you.

Protect your family and friends
Talk about family and friends, but do not give out last names or where the friends and family live. Keep information about friends and family safe until you know if you will see this person. People can track you down by giving this information out.

Trust your instincts
Finally, trust your gut instinct. If something does not feel right, then maybe something is wrong. Better to be safe than sorry!