Online dating is just one of the many ways that the Internet has brought the world closer together. It gives singles a broader pool of candidates to choose from and many services will match users with other compatible single people. But online dating is also abused by people who have less than noble and often harmful motives. There are several steps women especially should take to protect themselves when participating in online dating.
Don't trust a man who asks for your personal email address early in the online dating relationship. This is one step closer to discovering your identity and the man may use it for cyber-stalking. Avoid this by creating a new email account specifically for the dating service. Google, Yahoo and Hotmail are some of the free email providers.
Trust Your Instincts
Trust your instincts on your first date. If you feel there is something "off" about a smooth talking man, don't ignore that feeling--even if he is handsome. Watch his behavior: does he act overly protective or jealous of you? Is he overly aggressive or cross behavioral boundaries? Find an excuse to get out of the situation. Don't worry about being polite or hurting feelings if you feel really uncomfortable, just walk away.
Personal Phone Number
Watch out for someone who wants your phone number right away. Take your time giving out that information, because that's much more personal than email. Give it to a con artist and she can track it to your house or continuously harass you with phone calls. Purchase a prepaid cell phone or use an anonymous service such as Skype that cannot be tracked.
Carefully scrutinize the behavior of the person on the phone and in correspondence. Do he seem emotionally clingy and demanding? Does he get angry easily? Does he make you feel guilty or pressure you to do things out of your character? These are all signs that he has emotional problems and possibly violent tendencies.
Don't trust someone who asks to pick you up at home for a first date. Don't give out your address until you feel absolutely comfortable with him. Instead, arrange your own transportation to a public place for your first meeting, such as a museum, a mall or a fair. Have a back up plan if you suspect your date is following you home, such as driving to a friend's house or a police station.