Set up an anonymous free email account. Most dating sites allow users to forward all messages to a third party email account like Gmail or Hotmail for security purposes. Make sure that no personal information is attached to your email account and that the dating service you use sufficiently protects the privacy of its users.
Activate email filters if they're not automatic. Most free email providers offer free email filtering tools that search content to identify spam. Although most online dating sites screen users, data mining and phishing are still problems that members must be aware of. Report all spam to your online dating service.
Express specific interests in your profile header. A header that encourages only blonde-haired, blue-eyed people to contact you will hopefully deter brunettes and redheads from sending you messages. This method is not fool-proof, but can proactively eliminate many unwanted emails.
Determine whether to respond to emails by viewing profiles. All dating-related email you receive will contain basic information about the sender, including username. Look at photographs and peruse profiles to decide which messages merit a response.
Look for messages that contain questions about your interests and experiences. You want evidence that the sender actually read your profile and wants to learn more about you. Skip messages that emphasize only your appearance or in which the sender details his life story, but doesn't ask about yours.
Respond to all valid emails. It's impolite to ignore an email just because you're not interested in the sender. A short reply that thanks the sender for her interest, indicates your lack of interest and wishes her good luck with her search, will suffice. If you receive an inappropriate email, you need not respond, but should report the user to your online dating service.
- If someone pressures you for personal information, consider this a red flag. Only give out your name, phone number and personal email address to people you trust. If someone provides personal information in an email, don't feel obligated to reveal anything about yourself.
- Beware of scams. Never give money to somebody you meet over the Internet. Con artists target the vulnerability of online daters, posing as interested users and then asking them for cash.