Learn how to protect yourself while dating online.
Kathy and Roger met on ChristianCafe.com four years ago and were married in 2011. They attribute their successful relationship in large part to their patience in getting to know one another slowly and safely, both before they met in person and after.
"[Our patient approach] was to safely see if this person was consistent with the one the other had been communicating with and if there was sufficient attraction to [meet in person]," Kathy says. She and Roger practiced the following safety tips when using online dating.
While dating online, there are things you can do to keep your account secure. Keep your password protected and don't divulge it to anyone. If you access your account from a shared computer (shared with roommates or a public computer, such as at a library) do not save your username and password in the web browser. And always log out of your account before leaving the computer.
Use common sense when meeting someone new online. It is your responsibility to take the time to ensure the person you are corresponding with is trustworthy. Agree to meet someone in person only when you are ready. The following tips will help you retain your privacy and safety when meeting others.
Take your time: There is no need to rush into a relationship with the first profile you view. Having a secure, stable relationship should be important to you and the person with whom you are corresponding. Never give out your email address, phone number, IM information, full name, work information or any other contact information to a complete stranger. If the other person is really serious about starting a healthy relationship with you, he or she will respect your desire for safety and your commitment to develop a healthy relationship.
Correspond through the online dating site to start: Keep your correspondence on the dating site and get to know people over at least a week so that you can determine if their behavior is consistent and whether they are someone you'd like to get to know even better.
You can't determine with absolute certainty if someone is going to be honest, even if you know them for several months. However, you can pretty easily weed out those who are not honest.
We have found most people who are out to scam or play games are exposed surprisingly quickly. If someone is only interested in running an internet scam, he isn't going to wait to get to know you over the course of a week. Similarly, if someone is only interested in a physical relationship with you, we have found that such members tend to be upfront in a fairly short period of time. We have seen time and again that the nature of the communication (instant access to potential dates, during a limited free trial period) exposes the impatient from the patient. It's amazing what asking a potential mate to wait will reveal about their character.
Ask a lot of questions: Some members present only their most positive aspects; some of their negative aspects might not be apparent the first few days they correspond with you. Other members provide very little information in their profile or their letters. Be wary of such contacts and ask a lot of questions to help you get a better perception of the person with whom you're corresponding.
Use a non-descript email account: If you decide to communicate outside of the online dating site, use an email account other than your main personal or work account. There are many free email services available such as Gmail, Yahoo! Mail and Hotmail that you can use for this.
Use call block: If you decide to communicate by phone, apply call block before calling. Ask your phone company if you are unsure how to do this.
Meet in a public place: If you decide to meet in person, choose a public place and stay in a public place. If he or she is serious about the relationship, he or she will be glad to ensure you feel safe. Do not accept offers to have him/her pick you up or drop you off. Choose public transportation, your own vehicle, a taxi, or better yet, have a friend arrange the transportation for you. If things do not feel right, leave. Better safe than sorry.
Take your time to ensure the people you meet online are serious about your safety and a healthy relationship. Some of the potential warning signals include the following:
- The member claims to work overseas or travels frequently out of the country.
- The member offers his/her email address or asks for your email address, phone number, IM information or other contact information when you barely know him/her.
- The member is elusive in providing answers (within reasonable time) to a lot of your questions.
- The member's behavior seems to fluctuate or change drastically from one day to the next or from the first contact to later contacts.
- The member acts harshly, then the next email apologizes profusely; later this member acts harshly toward you again.
- The member wants to meet you at some private location (his house, his friend's place, your place).
- The member needs money for a bus ticket, plane ticket, taxi, etc., and wants you to send it to him/her.
Don't Throw Out the Baby!
While you should be cautious, remember that Internet dating works and that it is safe when you take the proper precautions. Make sure that you use only truly Christian dating sites. There are thousands upon thousands of couples who have met their spouses online. And there are thousands of single godly men and women who are waiting to start a healthy relationship. So reach out to members whom you find interesting, have fun and remember to take your time. You could be the next successful match.
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Interested in giving online dating a chance? ChristianCafe.com was designed to be secure and safe, so no one will know who you are unless you tell them. While ChristianCafe.com does not conduct background checks or guarantee the accuracy of profiles, its systems detect and remove 98 percent of "scammer" profiles right away and any others brought to its staff's attention. There are many features that help you meet others safely:
- Private mailbox: You can communicate anonymously via your private Cafe mailbox.
- Hidden location: You can hide your city on your profile, if you wish.
- Filtering technology: ChristianCafe.com has technology in place which weeds out 98 percent of scammer profiles. We also swiftly remove any abusive profiles our staff finds or as reported by Cafe members.
- Mailblock: You can apply a mailblock on any member (for any reason) so that they can no longer communicate with you.
To receive an extra four days to your free trial from ChristianCafe.com, use the promo code "Boundless."
Copyright 2012 Sam Moorcroft. All rights reserved.