“Use reputable dating sites that offer the ability to email prospective dates using a service that conceals both parties’ true email addresses,” Neate says.
Stewart recommends Match.com, Ok Cupid, Tinder, JDate and Christian Mingle, which are all owned by reputable, large companies.
“Do a Google image search to see if his or her profile is using pictures pulled from somewhere or someone other than him or herself.” This is the first step, but if you are going to meet up with this person, it’s sometimes a good idea to dig a little deeper (see tip number five).
If the person you’re talking to starts to make you feel uncomfortable, don’t try to be polite.
Believe it or not, some sites sell your profile or information.
“All of these things can be used to track and identify you and even your whereabouts.” Phone numbers are also a big no-no until you feel comfortable enough to meet up with someone. “Pick a username that does not include any personal information,” Neate says.
For example, don’t use anything along the lines of “jane_tucson” or “mary_90210.” Of course, it can be difficult to tell whether someone is potentially dangerous or not.
“Googling background searches will give you a wealth of options.
There are even some specifically for online dating, like Luv Fax.” Stewart encourages you to do a little research beforehand, as long as you don’t tell your date about it!
Playing detective might feel excessive, but you’re always better safe than sorry.