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Five Online Dating Safety Tips

( - April 21, 2004) Safety is a top concern for online daters, especially in an environment where anyone can claim to be someone they're not, according to online dating service offers the following safety tips for online dating:

1. Use your best judgment. As with meeting someone new under any circumstances, trust your instincts to know if the person is being truthful and honest, in order to protect yourself. Be particularly alert to any "red flags" that come up in your conversation. For example, red flags could include inappropriate language that makes you uncomfortable, requests for money, inconsistencies in stories, or a desire to move the relationship along at too rapid a pace.

2. Be cautious sharing personal information. Continue communicating anonymously with matches until you are thoroughly comfortable revealing personal information such as your name, email or phone number. Remember that once you share personal information, you can't take it back!

3. Make your first dates safe and successful. Meet in a public place, not at your home or office, preferably during mid-day. Tell at least one friend or family member your plans and check in with them at the conclusion of the date.

4. Take your time. Online communication can tend to accelerate your sense of comfort and intimacy. Before moving toward a permanent relationship, it's important to share many and varied real life experiences offline, and take your time getting to know each other.

5. Always be respectful and kind. Treat the other person as you would want them to treat you. Not every online match will be "The One." If you want to end communication, be honest, direct and polite so you can both move on.

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