10 Online Dating Safety Tips Every Woman Needs to Know
You may think you know your date from all those emails, but play it safe for that first date.
-Kate Houston, BettyConfidential.com
The following online dating safety guidelines are the result of conversations with members of a local police force and sent to them for review before posting. These are general guidelines and their focus is primarily on the online dating process leading up to a meeting.
Hence, these are not profile writing safety tips (such as: do not divulge personal information that can be traced to you and, in turn, can jeopardize your privacy and security). Nor are they safety tips about online dating photos (such as: no children’s pix, and shots that show your address or license). These are general guidelines to help you negotiate the online dating process leading up to those first few meetings:
1. Instinct and intuition will not protect you from a predator. They’re brilliant at deception whether by email, phone or in person. If you meet in public, chances are you could be safe. However, why take chances when you have the opportunity to take precautions.
2. Don’t rush into a meeting.
3. Get verifiable details through emails before you meet, such as a phone number. Use the site’s email system, not your private email – it can be traced back to you.
4. Don’t give out information that’s too personal or that can jeopardize your safety. When you’re ready to take it to the level of a phone conversation, don’t give out your phone number. Instead, you make the call and block your number.
5. When you feel ready to meet, still remember that you’re meeting a stranger. If you’ve had a long period of email and phone exchanges, don’t be lulled into a false sense of familiarity or security.
6. When you meet, never leave your drink or purse unattended – no matter how “safe” the person feels. In fact, until you really feel you know the person, don’t let him get you drinks that you didn’t see poured, etc. The police officer added, “While some may think that’s too hypervigilant, I don’t think you can take too many precautions when it comes to your personal safety.”
7. Don’t divulge your address or other key personal information to this stranger. Don’t go into a car alone with this stranger. Always remain in public for the first few encounters. The police officer added, “We can never reiterate this enough. Don’t give out any personal information until you feel absolutely safe and comfortable.”
8. Let a friend know who you’re meeting (provide the verifiable details you’ve collected such as their phone number), where you’re meeting, how to reach you and when you’ll be home.
9. Arrange for that friend to call you during your date. This will give your loved ones peace of mind. It will also make clear to your date that you are not entirely alone or vulnerable. The police officer added, “Speaking for myself, I’d be impressed that the woman was really heads up about her personal safety.” Ditto!
10. Don’t feel self-conscious or embarrassed about taking these precautions. Decent men understand that women need to be careful.
Using precautions and good judgment will free you up to enjoy the fun, excitement and more entertaining (who doesn’t have a good date story!) aspects of online dating. If you have specific concerns or questions, please contact your local police non-emergency center.