Risks of Online Dating

At one time dating agencies were popular. Individuals would go to a dating agency's office and apply to be a member and provide information at the office. Sometimes first meetings between clients even took place at the office. Today dating websites have become more popular than the traditional dating agency. These websites are slightly different as after individuals meet online, their face-to-face meetings are done in private, and not in a dating agency's office.


There are dating websites that are free to browse, and some that are completely free to be a member of. Others charge fees. They might let you browse the personals for free, but then you need to pay to respond to ads or receive responses to your personal advertisement. These websites require a credit card that can be billed monthly. Some will offer a free trial month, but if you fail to cancel before the trial period is over or you forget you have a membership, your credit card will be charged.


Check with your employer if it has a professional conduct code. Sometimes these codes can extend into items you do online that would reflect on yourself as a representative of the company. Joining an online dating website that allows you to post risque pictures might seem harmless. But if a client of your company does an Internet search using your name and finds these photographs, it could reduce your professional status in the client's eyes. Many companies do internet searches on candidates as well, and these photos could cost you a chance at an interview.

Time Frame

Online dating can become addictive. You might find yourself spending hours a day searching the profiles of other singles on online dating sites. Combined with searching, responding to messages you receive through the site and sending messages to other members, a dating website take up a large portion of your day that could be spent on items that would normally have a higher priority.

Computer Viruses

Online dating websites might require that you download a potential date's photograph to view it after seeing a thumbnail preview. Members might also send you additional photographs of themselves in messages. Any file that you download from the Internet has a risk of having a virus or spyware associated with it. Dating websites can not catch all of these viruses. If you are using a dating website, you should make sure that you have a virus protection program that checks files as they are opened. These are also referred to as memory resident virus protection programs.

Unsavory Characters

Some dating websites will run criminal background checks on their members to help protect their member base. Unfortunately, there are always people who will try to get around the system by providing inaccurate information such as aliases or incorrect background information. Once you make your connection online with another individual at the online dating website, the risk involved with personal meetings is transferred to yourself. If you have any doubts about someone on an online dating website, do not meet them, there are many other opportunities on the online dating website to find someone you trust.

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About the Author

Alan Kirk has been writing for online publications since 2006. He has more than 15 years' experience in catering, management and government relations. Kirk has a bachelor's degree in business management from the University of Maryland.

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