Getting to know someone
When getting to know people, take your time and trust your instincts.
When you are having a conversation online think whether you would be saying and sharing the same things if you were meeting the other person face-to-face. Services give you the time and a level of anonymity. Use it to get to know people at a pace you feel comfortable with. It is totally sensible to be cautious about how much information you share at first and even over time. Always take a common sense approach when talking to someone new.
Dating sites often offer mail and chat services so you can get to know people in a safe and controlled environment. Make the most of their platforms and the added security it gives you. Take care when providing contact details to people who say their subscription is about to end. A common behaviour of scammers is to take the conversation away from the safety of the dating site as quickly as possible.
· Do Your Own Research
Online dating sites work hard to moderate profiles, however it is always worth doing some research of your own before meeting someone for the first time. Try searching for social media profiles or do a web search to see if there are any records or images of the person online. For example check their LinkedIn or run a Google Image search to check any photos provided.
· Be Aware Of The Warning Signs – Scammers
Although the vast majority of individuals who use online dating services are honest about the information they give, as with all social networking sites, there may be some exceptions. Dating sites, the police and others work to keep scammers off sites. Scammers want one thing and one thing only – money.
Here are a few examples of behaviours to watch out for:
Moving too quickly – Be cautious if the relationship progresses more quickly than you are used to. Sudden declarations of love may sound nice but other motives could be there. Use common sense and don’t be afraid to speak to a friend to get a second opinion.
Irregular behaviour – If the person seems vague, tries to take the conversation offline, has an unlikely story or acts inappropriately, then proceed with caution and don’t hesitate to report them.
Requests for money -– Some scammers will look to gain your sympathy with emotional stories of ill relatives or financial difficulties or urgent job opportunities and travel needs. Look out! Any request for money at any point should ring an alarm bell; however sad, urgent, compelling or heart-wrenching the story.
Investment opportunities – Beware of anyone offering you ways to get rich quick putting your money into investment schemes. You are online to meet people and make new relationships: not to act as a charity or in search of investments. Any offer that’s “too good to be true” is to be avoided.
The ODA, member companies, the police and online protection agencies share the following advice about scammers:
Never ever respond to a request for money
Never give out bank account or personal details
Beware of a sob story or fantastic too good to be true business deals
Watch out for profiles that immediately tug on heart strings such as ill relatives or those requiring money urgently
Don’t let the passing of time and some sense of closeness to someone online cloud your judgment. These sorts of pitches may take time to come out in messages. That does not make them any less of a lie.
Be wary of long distance and overseas relationships
Be wary of profiles from foreign countries
Be careful about the images you share, never share anything you wouldn’t mind your family or others seeing
Don’t ever feel responsible silly or scared if you think there is a problem. You welfare and that of others comes first
Always ask a friend – if they advise you against the relationship listen to them
Report anyone who is acting suspiciously to the dating site you are using