Looking for an online dating guide? Here’s the ultimate list from one of the first companies that started online dating, Blossoms | Cherry Blossoms Dating:
Choose the Right Site
Today’s estimates state that there are 5,000 online dating sites worldwide. Do some research and check is if the dating site is reputable and has a long history of success. Visit the website, read the “about us” or “why join us” section before signing up.
Free vs. Paid
Paid online dating sites are a financial investment. They tend to have members that are committed to finding long-term relationships. Free sites have higher memberships, but there are also higher chances of interacting with romance scammers.
Does the dating site provide at least a phone number to contact if you have questions? Does it have a team of moderators?
Set up an email account to use with your dating account. Your email account should have no personal information about you in the address.
Create an attractive and engaging profile without divulging too much information. For example, it’s okay to say what you do for work but not list down the company you work for.
Take photos that have plain backgrounds. Images can contain a lot of information about you in the background.
Keep communication to potential matches limited to the dating site. Join an online dating community with a team of moderators so that you can report anything offensive and threatening. Set up a free Google Voice account (to generate a separate phone number and forward it to your mobile) when it’s time for a phone call. When you want to use Skype, Zoom, or Google Hangouts in conjunction with dating online, use a separate account other than what you may share with your friends or use for work purposes. NEVER give out your phone number, home address, or email address unless you trust the recipient.
Don’t Catch a “Catfish”
Catfishing is when a member assumes the identity of someone else. If a profile seems too good to be true, it probably is. Do a reverse image search of their photos, and if they appear under different names, you may have caught a catfish. Catfishers will always make up excuses for why they can’t meet you, talk on the phone, or chat via webcam. Online predators use this tactic to try to trick people into an online romantic relationship.
Beware of Scams
Besides online predators such as stalkers and catfishers, romance scams are perpetuated through dating sites. Scammers will pose as members and try to get their target to click on links, usually leading to porn, webcam, and even malicious sites that download malware onto your computer.
Scammers will tell you a sob story about being stranded in a foreign country or a sudden family emergency and will ask you for money. Please report them to the service you are using and block them.
Ask for a recent photo to verify the identity of the person that you’re communicating with. If they make excuses as to why they can’t provide an image, err on the side of caution.
Another online dating guide to remember: Be careful about your behavior when agreeing to a webcam chat. A criminal can record the webcam session and use it to blackmail you. It’s okay to disconnect once the conversation becomes uncomfortable.
Scammers create fake profiles run by programs called bots. Bots have predetermined responses, so take notice if a person isn’t answering your questions directly or the conversation you’re having seems a bit off.
Meeting in Real Life
Please continue to exercise caution when you decide to meet up. Be sure to meet in a public place where other people may assist you if things start to go south.
Trust Your Instincts
The most crucial and important online dating guide is to use common sense. If something feels off, trust your gut.