When Rat Pack singers croon about "strangers in the night," it sounds so romantic.
But in the online dating world, meeting strangers can be scary and poses a whole host of challenges, among them money scams and identity theft.
The same goes for being picked up in their car from your house.
No one needs to know your home address within twenty-four hours of knowing you.
Here are a few safety tips you should know before you go looking for love online, with some reassurances from seasoned "virtual" daters. Wait until you actually meet the person and build up a level of trust before you share your address, phone number or real email address.
(You typically use an encrypted email on these sites.) Stay local.
Know who you’re talking to Whether it’s an app you’re on or a dating site, be aware of the amount of information on offer from the people you are chatting to.
Sure, people knock off a few years here or there and might use a picture that’s six months out of date, but, if someone has minimal information about themselves or one grainy picture be aware that they might not be who they say they are.
Have it forward to your cell phone, so your dates don't know your cell or home phone number. "I'm still a little wary about it and would prefer the 'love at first sight while petting a dog experience,'" says Agatha B., age 27.
These days you're in the minority if you don't know at least one person who met their current husband, wife or partner on an online dating site.
According to a recent survey, one in five people in a new committed relationship and one in six couples married during the last three years met their significant other using an online dating service.
Many people wrongly assume that using an online dating service is the equivalent of throwing in the towel and screaming, "All right already, I'll do it - I'm desperate!
" Actually, online dating is not for the desperate.