Online Dating Safety Tips for New York Singles

By following a few online dating safety guidelines, online dating can be a great way to meet new people.

We have all read the headlines about the dangers of meeting people online and the consequences of people letting their guard down. As a result, some of you may be leery about using an online dating service in order to meet new people. However, with millions of people living in New York City, online dating may just be one of the few ways to truly get the results you hope for -- meeting someone nice who would actually like to develop a relationship. There are several online dating safety tips you should follow in order to stay safe online. Just as you would take precautions in the real world, the cyber world is no exception.

Additionally, you need to understand that there are inherent risks with any dating situation, real or otherwise and cyber dating should only be for those 18 and older. That said, the following safety tips should help you to navigate the net more safely and easily through the world of online dating.

You can't believe everything you read online

The great thing about online dating is you can fudge a little on your weight, height, hair color, etc... This means the other person can, too. Being as honest as you can is important, but keep in mind that the anonymity of the internet can allow someone to hide a lot of things they would prefer you not to know. In other words, you need to remain slightly skeptical about what you are reading and be somewhat guarded about what you believe. The cute guy you've been chatting with may not even be a guy at all!

Your personal information is none of their business

One of the biggest mistakes people make is to provide personal information. You may begin to feel comfortable chatting with someone and the next thing you know you're giving them your address and phone number and then the person you found so adorable online turns into a jerk who begins harassing you at home. Keep your information to yourself. Absolutely resist the temptation to provide any personal information such as place of employment, birthday, address, phone number, etc... If someone keeps hounding you for information like this, view it as a red flag and terminate communication. People who are sincerely looking for an opportunity to date understand this rule and will not bother you about it.

Most online dating services provide you with an anonymous email or re-remailer in order to mask your true email address. If the service you choose doesn't have this option, consider setting up an entirely new email account just for your cyber dating in order to avoid cyber stalking.

Don't rush things

Taking your time is one of the most important online dating safety tips.

It is really easy to say just the right things online. You can be anyone online. It is important that you do not get carried away in the fantasy of what the other person is saying and rush into meeting them or taking the relationship further too quickly. You need to be patient and take the time to get to know the person. Again, someone who is truly interested in a genuine relationship will not pressure you into moving too fast. If the person wants to meet you after only a few weeks and won't let it go, terminate the emails and move on.

Even though you know everything about them, they can still be strangers

What do I mean by that? Online dating is a little strange in that you may spend a lot of time emailing or chatting and really getting to know each other. Even though you may feel like it's time to actually meet, begin with a phone call. You can tell a lot about a person by their demeanor on the phone which will enable you to decide if you actually want to meet them or not. When you finally meet, you may feel that you already know the person due to all your conversations. This is where you have to remain cautious and not let your guard down! You need to treat them as you would a stranger.

If you are going to meet, do not provide any more information than you would provide someone you met in a bar. Meet in a public place and come separately. Consider bringing a friend along with you and do not meet them someplace just around the corner from your apartment. When you meet them, compare them to the person you have been chatting with online. Do they match up or is something not quite right. Listen to your instincts and do not let your fantasy overrule what your gut tells you.

Don't take chances with your online dating safety. Taking steps to being safe when online dating is essential to a positive experience and your well being.

-Ella Riez for

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