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Dating safety tips

Dos and Don'ts

Purely Practical Tips (For Dating On and Off-line) Whether you're off on your first blind date set up by a friend or you found your love interest on Match.com, your personal safety should always be priority No. 1. The following guidelines will help ensure your safety:

 

DO guard your identity. Don't share your real name, personal phone numbers, or any other identifying information while IMing or emailing until you are comfortable doing so. Tip: Never post personal contact information in your profile. Don't risk having this information fall into the wrong hands.

DO remain anonymous until you feel safe and ready to explore other options. Your communication options on Match.com are designed with "doubleblind" technology to help you protect your identity until you choose to reveal it — this includes email, IM and even matchTalk, which allows you to talk on your own phone without having to reveal phone numbers. Tip: If a person provides his or her phone number early in the email exchange, that doesn't obligate you to use it.

DO use a third party, anonymous email address. While Match.com's "doubleblind" system conceals true email and IM addresses, hackers can breach nearly any technology. As an added safety measure, set up a third-party email address to use expressly for dating purposes and forward your Match.com emails there instead of to your personal email box. Tip: Make sure you turn off signatures or identifying information in your email and consider using a P.O. Box for snail mail.

DO be careful when using a sexy name. Keep in mind that, while using sexual connotations in your email address or user name might get you noticed, it probably won't attract the sort of person you'd like to share a relationship with — or even a conversation, for that matter. Tip: Also, do not include your real name or city of residence in your profile or in your user name.

DO use a current picture and be truthful in your description of yourself in your profile. Misleading descriptions or photos can result in angry feelings and can end a relationship before it begins. In the long run, honesty is your best relationship tool.

DO trust your gut. Immediately quit corresponding if you feel unsure or threatened. Do keep a record of your conversations. Remember to save your emails and IMs for future reference. Match.com does not retain copies of your correspondence. Tip: If you are uncomfortable with an IM exchange, remember to click the "Save to file" link on your IM window.

DO block abusers. We STRONGLY encourage you to block any member who behaves in an abusive manner and to report the behavior to Match.com. You can block people and report concerns from any profile page or directly from your email or IM window. Examples of abuse include: Married people or minors using the service Members sending harassing or offensive emails/IMs Members behaving inappropriately after meeting in person Criminals or other "shady" characters using the service Fraudulent registration or profiles Spam or solicitation* Copyright infringement Members asking you for money or donations Any other violation of Match.com's policies *Our Terms of Use strictly prohibits the use of this service for the purpose of solicitation. Please notify us immediately if another member sends you links to a pay-to-view site or includes instructions about how to call a 1-900 number. Also report invitations to join other singles sites, emails about modeling opportunities or attempts to sell any merchandise or service.

 

Meeting Off-line

Think Safety First! A first meeting with any new love interest can be exciting, and most first meetings are perfectly safe. But it's always smart to take basic precautions. Always trust your instincts. And be sure to keep the following guidelines in mind:

DO meet in public. ALWAYS arrange to rendezvous in a populated, public place. NEVER meet in a private home (or in a hotel room) or in a remote location.

DO tell a friend. Tell at least one friend or family member you are meeting, where you are going and when you expect to return. Let your date know the meeting is not a secret. Tip: Contact your friend before and after the date or ask your friend to contact you at a predetermined time.

DO stay sober. Refrain from drinking excessively, as it could impair your ability to make good decisions and may put you at risk. Tip: Stick to nonalcoholic drinks when meeting someone for the first time.

DON'T leave home without your mobile phone. If you have a mobile phone, take it with you on dates. Most cell phones can be used to call 911. Tip: Make sure 911 services are available in your area. If not, know your emergency number.

DON'T ask the other person to pick you up. Get yourself to and from the date, even if you have to have a friend drive you or take a taxi.

DON'T leave personal belongings (purses, wallets) or drinks unattended. Don't risk having your personal information stolen. The same goes for your drink — don't risk having it tampered with. Tip: If you must leave your drink unattended to go to the restroom, order another when you return.

DON'T succumb to the temptation to take first dates to your home (or to go to his/her home). Stay in a public place, even if you are pressured. If you feel pressured, end the meeting and leave at once. Tip: If you are followed to where you parked your car, stop and hail a taxi or go into another public place to use the telephone and phone a friend. Come back later with your friend to get your car.

DO set up a next date — if you are ready and feel comfortable. And DO remember to follow all of these tips on subsequent meetings, until you feel confident with your new friend. If the other person is sincerely interested in you, he or she will want you to feel safe.

Long Distance Meetings: 6 Sensible Safety Suggestions We've come a long way, baby — literally. Fifty years ago, the idea of "courting" someone who lived in the next town over (much less across the globe) was pretty much unheard of. Today, technology has made a mud puddle out of an ocean. But long-distance first meetings pose special concerns. Always keep safety at the forefront and bear in mind the following tips:

DO stay in a hotel. If you can't afford to stay in a hotel, don't go. NEVER stay at the other person's home on your first visit.

DO use taxis to get to and from the airport. If the other person wants to greet you at the airport — great! It shows interest and it's polite. But DO NOT get into a personal vehicle with someone who you are meeting for the first time. Tip: Arrange a public rendezvous location and time, then take a taxi — alone — to your hotel.

DO keep your hotel location private. Until you are completely certain of the person's intentions, don't reveal exactly where you're staying. Tip: To keep from disclosing your location on caller ID, contact your date on your mobile phone en route to your rendezvous.

DO keep valuables in the hotel or room safe. Don't take them or wear them on your date.

DON'T forget to keep family and friends posted. Always tell someone who you are meeting, where you are going and when you plan to return. Tip: Let your date know that your whereabouts are not a secret to your friends and family.

DON'T forget to use all our dating tips. Read each of our safety tips sections.

Red Flags: 7 Signs You Might Want to Steer Clear "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is." Mama was right on target with this bit of advice. Remember that, when it comes to your personal safety, it's not only OK to snoop, it's your duty. Here are a few additional guidelines:

DO listen to your gut. If the other person can only meet or talk to you at odd hours, he or she may be keeping a secret. If this person cannot be honest with you from the start, you cannot count on him or her to be honest in the future. Example: If you talk on the phone and a person speaks in hushed tones or "has to go" all of a sudden, the person may not be as single as he or she claims to be.

DO get as many details as possible about the other person BEFORE meeting off-line. And don't forget to share some of those details with a friend or family member.

DO a little digging. Because privacy is of the highest importance at Match.com, we do not require our members to submit to background checks. We do, however, encourage members to do their own research on potential love matches, including asking questions, utilizing Internet search engines (try www.ask.com) and most importantly, use common sense. You can also ask your date to submit to a background check, but be careful — a background check is only as good as the information provided to the checker. You can't rely on the accuracy of background check results.

DO be wary of someone who is vague, talks in circles or answers questions with other questions. Some people are very private, but if you're about to take your relationship to the next level, this isn't the time for reservation.

DO proceed with caution if someone pledges undying love after a first meeting — or even after several conversations online. Lust at first sight is alive and well, but love is, generally, an acquired feeling.

DO guard your financial information and beware of solicitation. You're on Match.com for dating, not to give financial advice or charitable contributions. Our Terms of Use strictly prohibits the use of this service for the purpose of solicitation. Please notify us immediately if another member sends you links to a pay-to-view site or includes instructions about how to call a 1-900 number. Also report invitations to join other singles sites, emails about modeling opportunities or attempts to sell any merchandise or service.

DON'T let love rob you blind. Beware of someone who mentions how broke he or she is. Also be cautious if he claims he "just got laid off from work," or that her financial adviser "scammed her out of all her money."

 

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