As a single parent, after the dust has settled from the tornado that we all call Divorce, there is often a desire to start dating again. With limited time (especially with small children in your family), it seems to be commonplace to turn to online dating sites. We’ve all heard online dating horror stories as well as a few stories of success. The cold hard fact is that when you meet someone online, it can be dangerous. You don’t know them other than what they tell you in their online profile, or what they tell you via phone or email. In reality, a person can create whatever persona or personality they want. Here are some safety tips for online dating from a Private Investigator and others who speak from experience.
First, never use the same username that you use elsewhere. Choose different usernames for different accounts. Second, never use pictures you use elsewhere (i.e. Social networking sites), and never use pictures of your minor children. You never know who is looking.
You also don’t want to use email that you use elsewhere to communicate. Create a separate email account that you use only for online dating. Similarly, never give out your cell phone number until you are ready for someone to possibly know everything about you. Google Voice is a good option. You can register for a Google Voice number HERE, and then install the app on your phone to sync and allow texts.
Aside from the technology safety suggestions, another common sense safety tips that someone new to dating might not think of is when you agree to meet someone, meet them in public. Never allow someone you’ve never met in person to pick you up at your house. Others have suggested running their name in a Google search to see if anything shows up.
More important than all of these tips, listen to your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable in a situation or if there are red flags with something you see or hear, walk away. There will be other opportunities and your safety and the safety of your family is priority.
Check-out this video from local news about how to protect yourself from "internet love".