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  Protect Yourself When Dating Online

Mar 03, 2010 11:43 ET

The Internet is a great resource for staying in touch with friends, finding out the latest news and meeting new people but it can also be a dangerous tool if it is abused.

People using online dating sites in hope of finding love open themselves up to an array of possibilities including an online scam. When using an online dating service, be extra cautious when communicating with others.

1. Do not give out your personal information – your name, home and cellphone numbers, address, workplace, social networks, etc., should not be given out. Set up a free email account to use only for cyber dating.

2. Do not believe everything someone tells you – people can pose as anyone they want online, doctor, lawyer, tall, thin, the sky’s the limit. Always take what is being said with a grain of salt.

3. Take your time – go slow when getting to know someone via the Internet. If someone is pushing you to meet or asking uncomfortable questions, it may be time to stop communicating with them.

4. If you decide to meet someone, take or tell a friend – tell someone, anyone, where and when you are meeting this person. Have them call you during the meeting to check in and always meet in a public place.

5. Report anything suspicious to police immediately – you might think you are over reacting but the old adage of “better safe than sorry” is around for a reason. You may feel embarrassed or uncomfortable but remember, you aren’t alone. If it happened to you, the chances are it’s happened to someone else.

6. Do not give, loan or donate money to someone you meet online – scam artists will prey on your feelings and vulnerability in order to get you to open your wallet. Scam artist will take days, weeks or even months before they ask you for money to ensure you have an emotional connection to them. Someone truly interested in you won’t be interested in your money.

For more information on Internet safety please visit SafeCanada.ca.

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