One in five relationships begins online, according to Match.com. Online dating has now surpassed bars in the number of romantic connections it generates. Those are significant statistics. Online dating is certainly more acceptable and legitimate than it was a decade ago, but with so many millions of people online, it pays to know the waters so you don’t get scammed. And men are the easiest targets.
1. Stay with major sites.
Sites like Match, eHarmony, Yahoo and others are tried and true. We know, at least, they are designed to provide the services they advertise, whereas small upstarts are more likely to be fly-by-night companies designed only to separate you from your hard-earned cash.
This, of course, does not mean that every profile on these sites is screened, accurate or not fraudulent. There are red flags to look for. If the photo looks too good to be true, it probably is. Scammers often use professional photos of models without permission. If the face looks familiar and air brushed, be careful. Also, check the profile to determine how personal and realistic it is. And don’t get too involved until you know for sure who you’re dealing with.
2. Stay local.
The best course of action is to always stay as close to home as possible. Within five or 10 miles is better than 25 or 50 miles. First of all, if you are going to date this woman, she has to be easy to get to. Also, you know your area and can figure out with a few questions if the girl you’re chatting with is really a local resident.
“Use websites in moderation, watch out for scams and meet in a safe,
public place the first few times. Don’t be lured to another location or open your wallet for a new online babe.”
3. Use webcams.
If she doesn’t have a webcam, doesn’t know how to use it or it’s broken, beware. You don’t even know for sure if you’re dealing with a woman if you can’t see her. Move on.
Even if she has a webcam and everything looks good, she could be trying to scam you. All of a sudden during your third chat, her cam stops working, her car breaks down, or she has to take a bus to visit her sick grandma. The real pros won’t ask you for money — they’ll wait for you to offer. Don’t send her money for a new webcam or anything else. There’s a 99 percent chance it’s a scam.
4. She sends you to another website to chat.
There is a scam that was big a few years ago and is still going on. A girl contacts you through a dating site or an instant messenger and wants to chat. She might send you some suggestive photos, too. Then she tells you she’s really in the mood to get freaky with you on camera. The catch is that she wants you to go to her website. There you will need to use a credit card, just to prove your age, but everything is free. Riiight.
5. Avoid XXX sites.
There are some legitimate X-rated dating sites that have real members and lots of chat rooms, if that’s your thing. But the websites that feature racy pictures of girls are mostly fakes. The girls, or the website company, will send you lots of emails and propositions when you come in as a free guest, but their only job is to get you to buy a paid membership. The minute you pay your fee, the emails will stop. Well, you were looking to get screwed and you did.
6. Introduce yourself then meet them.
The key to success with online dating is to use those sites as a shoe horn. That is, find some nice women that seem compatible, and then meet them. Approach them in the low-risk electronic environment, with no fears of being nervous and no real fear of rejection — there are 10 million more profiles waiting right now if she’s not interested. But do the real courting the old-fashioned way – in person.
Too many hours of online chat can make you a junkie. Millions of men and women find it hard to give up the websites even after they find a flesh-and-blood lover. Use them in moderation, watch out for scams and meet in a safe public place the first few times. Don’t be lured to another location or open your wallet for a new online babe. Good luck!