At least half of the singles in the United States are dating online.
On Fox News in Los Angeles, I spoke with Christine DeVine on how to find love online safely, this Valentine’s Day.
1. Make sure your photos are accurate, ditch the prom shots.
2. Practice truth-in-advertising, be honest about your age.
3. Be careful of romance scams and research your dates.
4. Do a search of their email address and names to see who your date really is
5. Meet someone in a public place and let a friend know who you are meeting and where you’re meeting.
6. Text your buddy from your date to let them know you’re safe.
7. Avoid late night dates, could be a booty call or a hookup.
8. Don’t give up hope, there are 40 million singles online, you just might find your one in 40 million.
Julie Spira is America’s Top online dating expert and Digital Matchmaker. She creates Irresistible Profiles for singles on the dating scene. For more online dating advice, follow @JulieSpira on Twitter and sign up for the free Weekly Flirt newsletter.
Romance scams have been in the news lately from singles who are members of online dating sites and social networking sites. Every time I hear one of these stories, it breaks my heart. With Valentine’s Day putting extra pressure on dating, it’s extremely important to make sure that singles are doing their research when looking for a date, whether online or offline.
Know that online dating safety is of the highest importance here at Cyber-Dating Expert.
As a result, I’ve become a Spokesperson for Spokeo, an online search service which provides publicly available data to help you research your dates.
New research provided by Spokeo and Harris Interactive was just released which shows that 71% of Americans are willing to conduct some kind of informational search about the person they are dating. This tells me that singles are taking dating safety very seriously.
Here are 7 tips to help avoid being a victim of a romance scam.
1. If your date’s photos are either blurry or look like they are from a stock photo gallery, or look model-like or too good to be true, it’s time to do some digging.
2. Those involved in perpetrating a romance scam want to take the conversation off the dating site quickly and onto a private chat or instant messenger service. This avoids having the conversations documented or traceable by the dating site?s software. Until you’re sure about your date, keep the conversations on the dating site.
3. If he or she says they’re in love with you very quickly, don’t jump for joy just yet. Romance scammers often will say they’ve never felt this way before about anyone before and they’ve waited their whole life to meet you. Their grammar often isn’t correct and they have an accent if you speak to them on the phone.
4. If he or she lives out of town or out of the country, find out where they really live. If their efforts to visit you get repeatedly canceled due to a work or family emergency, you should be raising a digital eyebrow.
5. If your potential date has a work or family emergency and asks you to wire them money, don’t fall for it. It’s likely they’ll say if you really love them, you’ll help them out and they’ll pay you back quickly. Often the excuse is their funds are temporarily tied up. Don’t fall for it.
6. Make sure to look up the data that you have on someone you’re dating. This can be easily done by plugging the information you have into an online search engine to see if what you find online matches up with what the other person is claiming. Sites like Google and Spokeo can be very informative to research your date.
7. If any of these things happen to you, never ever send money. Do not sent money via Western Union or a foreign bank. Report the profile in question to the dating site and understand that you’re one of many that this person is writing to try try to sweep you off your feet and promise you a life of love and happiness.
Know that you can do a simple search of your potential date’s email address, phone number, or even user name by going to Spokeo.com.
Happy safe dating this Valentine’s Day.
Enjoy the Infographic below and feel free to share this with all of your single friends.
Wishing you much love and joy in cyberspace, or wherever you may roam.Julie Spira is an online dating expert and was an early adopter of Internet dating. She creates Irresistible Profiles for singles on the dating scene. For more online dating advice, follow @JulieSpira on Twitter and sign up for the free Weekly Flirt newsletter.
Disclaimer: Cyber-Dating Expert is a paid Spokesperson for Spokeo
35% of Americans Willing to Pay for Dating Research in Order to Feel Safer – An infographic by the team at Spokeo People Search
Finding love online happens for many millions of singles.
Being a safe online dater is something everyone needs to know.
On a recent episode of Dr. Drew on HLN, I gave my tips on how to become a cyber-sleuth so you can date safely on the Internet.
1. Remember to meet in a public place.
2. Tell your friends the screen name of your date and what site you’ve met them on.
3. Call or text your friend to let them know you’re fine during your date.
4. Make Google your friend and type in your date’s email address, phone number
5. Check Facebook to see if your date’s photos match their online dating profile photos. See if you have friends in common.
At the end of the day, there’s nothing more powerful than trusting your intuition. If you’re uncomfortable for any reason, leave. If your date continues to bother you after you’ve decided not to see them again, report them to the online dating site.
Know that millions of singles are falling in love every day from online dating sites.
Julie Spira is a top online dating expert and bestselling author of The Perils of Cyber-Dating: Confessions of a Hopeful Romantic Looking for Love Online. She creates irresistible profiles for singles on the dating scene. More more dating advice, follow @JulieSpira on Twitter, sign up for the free Weekly Flirt, and ?join us on Facebook.com/CyberDatingExpert
On Thursday, Manti Te’o will share his personal and painful story about the love hoax on Katie Couric’s talk show, Katie and all eyes will be watching.
Whether you’re a celebrity or the boy or girl next door, when matters of the heart are involved, it’s not uncommon to get lured in by a romantic pursuer on the Internet.
This most certainly doesn’t mean that all online daters are insincere, but the Notre Dame football star’s story will create more awareness about the digital courting process.
Spending time in chat rooms, Gchat, or Facebook chat provides an immediate connection with someone, who after a certain period of time, you may find yourself start to share personal information and intimate details with.
The next thing you know, you have that euphoric feeling that someone is in your digital corner. In other words, you now have a “digital pen pal,” not a real girlfriend or boyfriend. You want to share your exciting news with your friends, but if you online crush isn’t who he or she says they are, you’ll feel embarrassed and shame will kick in. You won’t want your friends to know you’ve been duped.
So before you start changing your Facebook status to ‘In a Relationship,’ look for these 7 signs that I shared with Men’s Health.
- Your online crush is quick to say, “I love you.”
- Your chats only take place late at night, when everyone else is asleep.
- Your new love won’t hop on a Skype call or video chat.
- The photos seem too good to be real.
- Multiple excuses prevent you from meeting in person.
- Your digital pen pal asks for money.
- Your new love is from another country.
Understand that the fantasy of the perfect person is so elevated, that you truly do believe you’ve met ‘the one.’ If this is the case, I recommend the following steps:
- Check their Facebook profile to see if the photos match up and if you have friends in common.
- Do a reverse phone number check by typing in their phone numbers in a Google search.
- Type in their email address in a Google search to see if they’ve created a digital footprint anywhere.
- Use photo recognition software such as TinEye.com where you can upload their photo and see if it appears anywhere else on the Internet.
- Do an in-depth background search from a site such as Intelius.
While these tips may provide information on your new digital love, not all of the data is available on the Internet. Let a close friend know you may be suspicious of your date and see if they can help solve the mystery. In many cases, as in this one, the person duping you may have a history of doing this to others as well.
Trust your intuition. Even Manti Te’o had his doubts about Lennay Kekua.
For more online dating safety tips, visit http://cyberdatingexpert.com/category/safety
For a timeline on the Mant Te’o hoax story, visit ABC News.
Julie Spira is a top online dating expert and bestselling author of The Perils of Cyber-Dating: Confessions of a Hopeful Romantic Looking for Love Online. She creates irresistible profiles for singles on the dating scene. Follow @JulieSpira on Twitter and at Facebook.com/CyberDatingExpert. Sign up for the Weekly Flirt e-newsletter for more dating advice.
Some dating tips include:
- Do a Google search for your date’s email
- Do a Google search for your date’s phone number
- Set up a Google Voice number for dating
- Set up a gmail account on Google for dating purposes
- Trust your intuition and report any suspicious activity to the online dating site
At the end of the digital day, there are a lot of terrific people joining online dating sites. You just be able to find your match.
Julie Spira is an online dating expert, cyber-relations expert, and author of the bestseller, “The Perils of Cyber-Dating: Confessions of a Hopeful Romantic Looking for Love Online. Visit her at CyberDatingExpert.com, where you can sign up for the Weekly Flirt dating advice newsletter. Follow @JulieSpira on Twitter and Facebook.com/CyberDatingExpert.
Online dating has just taken a big leap to help singles feel safer while looking for love on the Internet.
This week, Kamala D. Harris, the Attorney General for the State of California released a joint statement for online dating safety practices to help singles feel safer while looking for love online. Online dating sites eHarmony, Match.com and Spark Networks signed the agreement together, which will require sites to provide dating safety tips and do the necessary background checks to as agreed in the statement.
On our site, CyberDatingExpert.com, you’ll now see a link for SAFETY on the top of our home page. We want you to fall in love and we want to help you find your dream date. We also want to make sure that you’re following our safety tips as we take this topic very seriously.
In a recent interview on GenConnect TV, I discussed some dating safety tips that you should take to heart.
For more online dating safety tips, visit CyberDatingExpert.com
Julie Spira is an online dating and cyber-relations expert. She’s the author of the bestseller, The Perils of Cyber-Dating: Confessions of a Hopeful Romantic Looking for Love Online. Follow @JulieSpira on Twitter and like us at Facebook.com/CyberDatingExpert
In an interview on KPSP, Channel 2 in Palm Springs, I spoke with Arti Nehru about my top online dating safety tips and advice for cyberdating safety.
Here are some of the tips we discussed:
- Remember to meet in a public place.
- Let a friend know where you’re going and who you plan on meeting
- Don’t give out your last name, address, or phone number
- Sign up for Google voice and have your calls forwarded to your cell phone.
- If you’re uncomfortable for any reason, just leave
Online dating safety is important for singles looking for love on the Internet. We all want to find love, and usually the sooner, the better. What if you could have one phone number devoted exclusively to dating? Would you be more likely to be handing out your calling card?
If you?re hesitant to give out your home or cell phone number to someone who you?ve only corresponded via email with, you should be right. But there are several options to maintain your privacy while still scheduling dates on your calendar.
For my dating coaching clients, I often recommend that they sign up for a Google Voice account. Using Google Voice is free and is simple to use.
To get started, visit Google.com/voice to set up your account.? The simplest way is to link your cell phone number so you can receive calls while you?re out and about. You?ll have the opportunity to select a custom phone number from several choices. Go ahead and reserve one for dating purposes. Take it one step further and order a social calling card with your new unique dating phone number on it.
Once you select your phone number, you?ll have the opportunity to record your name. I suggest using just your first name. Let him hear your voice and know you aren?t just a voicemail service.
You should record an outgoing greeting as well. Google will magically call your cell phone number and allow you to record your message. The good news is your inbound messages can be transcribed to you and received via text. If you?d like to screen your calls, Google voice provides this service as well. ?I advise singles to have this deactivated, as it could be a deterrent to having someone actually complete the call and leave you a message. You can always turn it on at a future time.
Do you only want to receive calls from your dates during specific times? No problem. Google voice lets you control weekday and weekend calls as well as the times you?d like your phone to ring. Otherwise, the messages will go to your Google voicemail box.
Still confused? Contact us at CyberDatingExpert.com/contact and we?d be happy to help you date safely on the Web.
If you get a moment, we’d love it if you’d Like us at Facebook.com/CyberDatingExpert
At least once a month I am contacted by someone in the media to talk about online dating safety. It’s a hot-button for me and I spend an inordinate amount of time making sure that singles are safely looking for love online.
Over the weekend, The New York Times posted an article about the latest background check services available for online daters. The piece, written by Stephanie Rosenbloom, New Online-Date Detectives Can Unmask Mr. or Ms. Wrong, discussed a variety of services have popped up on the Internet to check out your date before you mate, or even before you click reply to his or her latest email.
Sites such as MyMatchChecker.com, ValiMate, Date Check make it easier to check out your date during the courting stages. One should realize that these services are not limited to online dating. You should use the same common sense methods for offline dating. The bottom line is, you should trust your intuition and take your time.
Still, the question is being asked of me on Twitter daily since the Times piece and subsequent follow up article on Forbes.com, The Perils of Online Dating and Talking About Broken Marriages with the New York Times posted by Kashmir Hill.
There’s a reason my book is titled, The Perils of Cyber-Dating. As a smart woman and successful Internet executive during the dotcom days, I was too busy to check out the man I married and later divorced. Had I done a background check on him, I would not have married him. It was time to turn lemons into lemonade and pay it forward.
So here is my take on To Check, or Not to Check your date out thoroughly in advance.
1. Do a simple Google search, but don’t discuss it on your first date.
2. Use your intuition and see if his or her stories add up. Do they work where they say they do? Do the communications via email and phone match up to who you believe you are scheduled to meet? If not, take a pass. There will always be another email in your inbox.
3. Go ahead and search if you must, but remember, not all of the information is always accurate.
4. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Everyone is bound to have something that doesn’t check out well. Perhaps he or she has bad credit due to the economy or a recent divorce. There’s no need to toss them out just yet if that is the case, but if you see a series of lawsuits piled up under his or her name, you might have reason to be concerned.
More women are in favor of doing a background check in advance of a first date to make sure he isn’t “Married,” or “Separated, Divorce Pending.” Finding out your date is a felon is something you must know, but worrying that each date could be with a felon will actually be counter-productive to your dating process.
Most men are worrying that the woman won’t look like her photos. Yes, men are visual. It’s at the top of their list.
As far as online dating sites being required to have a background search on each member, I am in favor of them providing the option for each member to do a background search from an outside company. My big concern is that if the information isn’t accurate, someone will blame the Internet dating site and more lawsuits will arise. I do believe each site should have an advice section on online dating safety. Whether commonsense or not, when it comes to matters of the heart, all bets are usually off when love and chemistry are involved. Better safe, than sorry.
I have contributed to the following online dating safety articles to help you feel safe at home, or at least on that first date. Feel free to read and comment.
ABC News – Should Online Dating Sites Be Required to Do Background Checks?
CBS News – Find Love Online This Valentine’s Day
CNET – Find Love Online This Valentine’s Day–Safely
Cyber-Dating Expert – 5 Online Dating Safety Tips
Cyber-Dating Expert - Tyra Banks on Online Dating
Cyber-Dating Expert – Cyberdating Safety Tips
eHow – Cyber Dating Safety
Examiner – How Safe is Your Date?
FOX News – Cyber Dating Safety
Genconnect TV – Online Dating Safety Tips (Vide0)
Huffington Post – Online Dater Convicted of Assault
Huffington Post - To Sext, or Not to Sext
John Tesh - Criminals Could Be on the Dating Websites You Join
PC World – How to Scope Someone Out Online
Sympatico.ca – How to Spot a Cyber Player
Sympatico.ca – Protect Yourself Against Cyber Dating Scams
The Smart and Pretty – The Perils of Cyber-Dating and How to Avoid Them
WPIX – Cyberdating Safety (Video)
Your Tango – 7 Signs He’s Dating You For Your Money
Online dating is a fun and flirty way to meet a lot of people. If you’re ego has recently been bruised from a breakup or you just haven’t been in a relationship for awhile, before you get started, read my Top 5 cyberdating safety tips to make sure you’re dating safely while looking for love online.
1. Always meet in a public place. Having a home cooked candlelight meal may seem romantic on the phone or in a text message, but in real-life, you may be headed towards the bedroom prematurely. Whether it’s coffee, lunch, or a walk in the park, pick a place where others will see you. If you need to yell for help, you’ll have the chance to be heard.
2. Don’t give out your home phone number. Phone numbers can easily be traced to your home addresses. If your date goes south, the last thing you want is to have a stalker at your door. Give out your cell phone number and keep your exact home address to yourself until you get to know your date better.
3. Don’t talk about finances. Conversations with someone you are meeting for the first time should be light and friendly. Don’t reveal banking information or let them know if you are about to receive a large bonus or an inheritance or you might find your date has ulterior motives.
4. Get your friends involved. Create a buddy system where you always tell a friend who you are going out with on a first date. Provide the screen name, site you met your date on, and the name of the restaurant. Check in with your friend during the date. Let them know you are fine, or if you are uncomfortable, just leave. You don’t need to explain why you are leaving.
5. Trust your intuition. Your instincts are usually good. If someone is changing plans last minute and suggests a late night date or convinces you to meet at their home, take a rain check.
These online dating safety tips are mostly common sense, but sometimes your judgment can be impaired when you’re thrilled with the excitement of your new date.
Apply these rules to those you meet offline as well. Don’t get caught up in the romance and end up in trouble. You really don’t know who is hiding behind their computer screen.