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The dating scene can be a pretty slippery slope, and most people with dating experience would gladly vouch for that. However, when you throw the Internet into the mix, the whole thing becomes even more sketchy. See, prior to the rise of online dating sites, the entire dating process took place in person with the exception of blind dates.
It usually happened in a public place like a coffee shop or a park. Someone would catch your eye and spark your attention, introduce themselves, start a conversation, and if you felt a connection with the person, you’d either ask them out on a date, or hope that they’d ask you. But meeting organically just doesn’t happen all that much anymore. Why? Well because people started turning to online dating sites in their search for love.
Don’t get us wrong, online dating sites are great, and they’ve helped millions of people find true love, but they also have their downfalls. For every good-hearted honest user, there is a also creepy sketchball whose intentions are far from good, which is why you have to be super careful on these sites.
You shouldn’t be too quick to trust anyone you meet on the Internet, let alone a person you could potentially get involved with romantically. When you get matched up with other users, or if someone strikes up a flirtatious conversation, you should always try to learn more about them before agreeing to meet in person.
There are different sites you can use to background check your potential dates, like InstantCheckmate.com, which was created to help online daters avoid the creeps and criminals that lurk on dating sites. All you have to do is type in the person’s name, hit search, and boom—you get a detailed report that could significantly influence your decision about the date.
You can find out tons of information, including the biggest deal breakers which, for online daters, are usually 1) If the person is actually married (what a scumbag!), and 2) If they have any prior arrests or criminal convictions on their record. Imagine going on several dates with someone only to find out that they’re an ex-con who did hard time for murder. Doesn’t sound like much fun, does it? Now, imagine if you did an online background check as soon as the person started chatting you up. You’d find out about their heinous criminal history, and then run in the other direction—we hope.
It may be an old cliche, but “Better safe than sorry,” has never been more fitting than in the world of online dating. It’s impossible to truly get to know (or trust) someone based solely on their profile or the sweet nothings they send you on chat. That hottie you’ve been messaging back and forth could actually be a 65-year-old pedophile whose photos came from Google images. Seriously, these kind of situations occur more frequently than anyone would like to admit, so you should do everything you can to avoid them!
Do YOU have any additional advice for online daters? Let us know in the comments!
Amber Hollingsworth is a blogger from Dallas, TX. She specializes in writing about safety tips for online daters.