Online Dating Safety Tips: Finding Love on the Internet Safely – M’wah!

Passionista Principle: Trying to make somebody fall in love with you is about as pointless as trying to control who you fall in love with.
Hey Rockstars,

Recently there was a shakeup in the world of internet love. Top dating site was sued by a member who was sexually assaulted by a man she met online in her quest for a relationship. Now, to be fair, anyone that we meet can turn out to be a nutcase. 

To the victim’s credit, she sued but not for money or personal damages. She sued Match to incorporate a better screening process for members, searching names against the sexual offender database. Recently Match announced that they would make the changes. Unfortunately it took a terrible situation for this to come to pass.

Top 10 Rules for Dating Safely Online

1. Avoid Free Sites.
I have friends who have met guys on Plenty of Fish and OK Cupid. However, I have really heard some Craigslist, Blackplanet and Plenty of Fish dating horror stories. A friend of a friend was chatting it up for weeks with someone who turned out to be an overseas scammer. He was not the race or gender that his profile painted him to be. The friend only became aware of the scam when the potential date asked for money to handle a phoney emergency. Yeesh.

A paid site does not guarantee safety, nothing does, but adding a slight barrier to entry reduces the number of crazies just a little bit. Something to consider. Maybe consider trying E-harmony, Chemistry, or one of the ethnic or religious sites that appeal to your group such as J-Date, Christian Singles or Black People Meet.

2. Do a Basic Google Search.
The guy who assaulted the victim had 7 previous cases of reported sexual assault. Seven! We would never blame the victim but a simple google search could have possibly brought this information to her attention. Nothing is 100% and a google search assumes that the person is using their real name which may not be the case. However, it can’t hurt.

Also, special note: Names are not the only thing that you can search. Please do searches of email addresses and phone numbers that you are given.

3. Have a phone conversation. 
You have no guarantee that the person on the other end of the interwebs is the photo that you’re looking at. The person can be in another country or even in prison. Not to scare you or anything. For that reason I recommend have a phone conversation before meeting any online date in person. Block your cell phone number with universal blocking code *67 or set up a temporary google voice number to protect yourself.

4. Do a background search. 
There’s a free iPhone app that I recommend named “Are they really single?” In many cases that is a damn good question. Nobody wants to date a player. You can pay a fee within the application for a full background search including criminal records and previous aliases.

5. Only date people with a photo.  
What do they have to hide? Nuff said.

6. Don’t send money or fall for anyone giving you immediate hard luck stories.
When you’re dating you’re putting your best foot forward. If someone that you’ve only met online is coming at you with problems it’s only a relationship nightmare from there. Plus there’s always the scam factor mentioned above.

7. Get to know them online without sending out personal information.
Dating websites like and have built in games and other ways to play with and get to know potential love partners within the safety of the site. Put them to good use and pay attention for potential red flags.

8. Tell a friend where you’re going.
This is a good rue of thumb for blind dates period.

9. Meet the date in public.
You would think this goes without saying but I’m just putting it out there.  

10. Don’t bring them home.
The woman assaulted in the story above was attacked in her own home on her second date with the guy. Be wary about bringing new folks home so soon. 

Don’t forget to check out the recent study on love, sex, dating and relationships called “Single in America” for news you can use.

I wish you love, love, love and soon, hopefully you will be taking down your online profile. Have fun!