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Article: Dating Safety

If you join a personal introduction agency then you have the benefit of just being introduced to people who have been interviewed and ID checked. With Internet Dating you don't have this safeguard - so you need to assume responsibility for your own safety. This is exactly the same as if you met someone in a pub, winebar or nightclub.  

Internet Dating is no more dangerous than meeting someone in a pub or winebar. Millions of people do this. However, it is no more safe.

The vast majority of people who are there will be fine - but you always need to be sensible and guard against the unlikely event of meeting someone who isn't.

Use your common sense and follow these tips

 

Safety Tips

Don't reveal personal information about yourself (surname, address, place of work) until you feel entirely comfortable to do so. 

The idea of internet dating is that you can remain anonymous whilst getting to know potential dates a little better. You're welcome to exchange as many emails as you wish through our site. However, if you do wish to exchange 'real' email addresses then you may consider giving them a 'secondary' email address - as opposed to your main one - particularly if your main address is a work address e.g. "MaryBloggs@bbc.co.uk". There are many places you can get free email addresses from and you can usually set up forwarding or remote checking so that mail sent to this address can be read from you main mailbox. We recommend Yahoo, Gmail and Hotmail for free email addresses

We suggest that you don't reveal your full name or home phone number to dates - there's no reason for them to need to know your surname or where you live.

If you are going to give a phone number then a mobile is safer - as there is no easy way of tracing this back to your address.  You may well choose to have a cheap, separate "Pay as you Go" mobile for Internet Dating use. That way even if someone becomes annoying you just can buy a new SIM card for £10

If your date generously suggests that you reverse the charges on a call (so that they pay) - don't - as  your number may well appear on their bill. It is now easy and inexpensive to buy a CD ROM of all (non ex-directory) telephone numbers in the UK that allows reverse lookup of addresses from phone-numbers.  

 

Deciding to meet in person?

Before you meet someone in person you should be entirely comfortable about them and the arrangements. Don't feel pressurised into meeting anyone. It's usually best to have a telephone conversation with them first. Don't be rushed into a date - if you don't fancy meeting up, then politely decline. 

We suggest that you meet in a public place with other people around.
YES: a pub, winebar, cafe, market, restaurant
NO: your/their house, your/their work, deserted park.

If you have a mobile phone then it is a good idea to take it with you. You can also arrange for a friend to call you during the date to check you are OK.

Don't go back to your house or agree to go to their house until you know each other well enough to do so. We'd suggest that this would be after at least several dates.

Always have your own transport home and donít accept a lift.

 

Drinking and Dating

Don't drink too much - it lowers the inhibitions and you may make some bad decisons

Girls: be careful with your drinks - especially in busy bars/clubs ..i.e. that nothing (drugs) could be slipped into them.

 

Cyber-scammers

In recent years a large 'Industry' has emerged of criminals manufacturing fake profiles on dating sites. The purpose of the scam is to engage real members in a cyber relationship over the course of some weeks (via email, instant messenger and sometimes even phone)  before asking them to send money. On Loveandfriends we block cyber-scamming profils every week. However, some do slip through our safety net occasionally - so members need to be on their guard.

Tip 1: If you are suspicious about any profile or message you receive - please contact us immediately and we will investigate and  get back to you ASAP with advice. 

Tip 2: NEVER send any money to someone you have contacted on a dating site - regardless of how desperate/genuine their story appears to be.

These criminals tend to be non UK based (e.g. Nigeria, Russia, South Africa) in locations that are not policed as well as the UK. Most typically they have an attractive looking photo and profile that is totally fake (e.g. 22 year old in a cyber cafe in Lagos pretending to be a 50 year old American engineer or soldier). They try and contact as many people as possible and build up a rapport over days, weeks and sometimes even months. Typically they try and get you off the dating site asap and corresponding via email - as this puts them beyond our scrutiny.

Once they feel they have established a relationship the scammer will ask for help with some "Urgent" financial need. For example:

- Living expenses due to temporary paycheck problems
- They have been robbed
- The cost of a visa or flight
- Need urgent medical attention or have been in an accident
- Have some son, daughter or other relative that urgently needs money due to medical emergency

Nearly always the fake profile is of someone notionally travelling or working abroad - which gives an apparantly legitimate reason why they cannot meet up in the short term - and so this gives the cyber-romance time to build up via email and chat messages.

Amazingly even normally sensible people sometimes find themselves being hooked in to responding to charming emails from fake profiles. Therefore please rmember our 2 simple tips:

Tip 1: If you are suspicious about any profile or message you receive - please contact us immediately and we will investigate and  get back to you ASAP with advice. 

Tip 2: NEVER send any money to someone you have contacted on a dating site - regardless of how desperate/genuine their story appears to be.





 

 
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