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Online Dating Safety Tips from an Expert

datingsafety 240x300Online dating safety is something that everyone needs to be concerned with. At Cyber-Dating Expert, we take safety seriously and are always sharing ways for you to feel safe and enjoy the Internet dating experience.

In Louisiana, three stories occurred this month involving people who met online dating, social networking sites that resulting in hijacking and other crimes such as a robbery in a car.

In one case, a man went to his car to meet a potential date, and instead of finding the woman, ten men were there, which resulted in a carjacking.

I spent the morning on the radio on WWL AM/FM in New Orleans to provide dating safety tips to help prevent such occurrences.

While these occurrences are rare, it’s still important to point out the following, whether dating online or offline.

1. Meet in a public place and don’t pick up your date.

2. Don’t give out your last name or information where you work

3. Let a friend know where you are meeting and call in or text to let them know you’re fine

4. Don’t suggest a late night date

5. Never go back to someone’s home on a first date

6. Avoid drinking a lot of alcohol, which will impair your judgment

7. Carry pepper spray on your key chain for when you’re walking to your car at night

8. Conduct a Google search for your date’s name, phone number, and email addresss

9. View your date’s profile photos in a Google reverse image search by uploading it to Google.com/images

10. Do a background or people search for your date on sites such as Radaris or Spokeo

11. Set up a free Google voice account with a number exclusively for dating

12. If you’re uncomfortable for any reason, leave

13. If your date makes you feel unsafe online or offline, report their profile to the dating site

14. Take your time getting to know someone on the phone and through emails before meeting

15. Trust your intuition

Realize that while maybe 10% of your dates might not be truthful or may have ulterior motives, about 90% of the dates are truly great people looking to connect. There are millions of singles finding love online. Keep these safety tips in mind as you schedule your dates, but still enjoy the time getting to know someone.

Julie Spira on FOX Studio 11 – Online Dating Advice [video]

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.

Los Angeles Local News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

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.

Researching Dates Can Prevent a Romance Scam

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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

business of love dating and safety

35% of Americans Willing to Pay for Dating Research in Order to Feel Safer – An infographic by the team at Spokeo People Search

Online Dating and Catfishing – Safety First

online dating 101 1 200x300As Season Two of MTV’s Catfish is now underway, it’s likely that you may think that online dating is a little “off.” Hopefully this article and these statistics will change your mind.

Of more than 19,000 couples who married between 2005 and 2012, 35 percent originally met online, according to a study conducted by the market research firm IBISWorld (and funded by eHarmony). The research found that couples who met online were less likely to divorce and experienced higher levels of marital satisfaction.

With those types of statistics and the overall grim nature of dating, why not take a chance to meet the love of your life on the Internet? We know first-time online daters may be skeptical. Keep a positive attitude and be prepared to face any of these online dating risks:

Exaggerated Online Identities

For some people, online dating websites are spaces to set the past right again and erase relationship mistakes. It’s a space where people want to appear as perfect as possible, from a Photoshopped portrait to a falsely crafted profile. Unfortunately, the disparity between an online dater’s perfect self and the real self is often so gaping that in-person dates can be disastrous, as you can read from some of our Peril of the Week stories or in my bestselling book, The Perils of Cyber-Dating. Whether or not someone will live up to who they seem to be online is a gamble. Prepare yourself to take that chance and never let disappointment shatter your spirit.

Catfishing Victim

“Catfishing” is the act of creating a completely fictitious online persona (often via Facebook) to mislead or defraud others, according to LifeLock. It’s easy to get tricked into believing catfish are real, as they go to great lengths to develop fake profiles, including those with more than 300 friends and photographs to make it look real. Facebook photographs can easily be stolen from accounts of real people and falsely used on a catfish’s faux Facebook profile. To combat this:

  • Do a Google search on Facebook for photos, which could easily be stolen from others’ profiles
  • Do the same with a few distinctive phrases in the person’s profile bio. Perpetrators often have duplicate or near-duplicate profiles on multiple sites, each with a different picture or location
  • Fraud and identity theft aren’t the norm, but they happen. Limit how much personal information you share until you know you can trust your potential date.

Impossible Expectations

With so many dating sites and pages upon pages of singles’ profiles, it’s easy to maintain high standards and keep a mentality that, “someone better may be out there.” You should never have to settle for someone with whom you don’t have a connection, but focusing on trivial aspects of a person’s profile or appearance will only hinder your quest to find the one. Know your deal breakers?while keeping an open mind.

Also, understand that many online daters become addicted to the process and accustomed to easily disposing of people they’ve met. Make it a point not to take rejections personally. You can’t let your self-worth and confidence break down because of strangers over the Internet.

A Proper Profile

Have a friend or family member whom you can trust to look over your profile or allow us to create your Irresistible Profile to help you attract your dream date and to ensure that it accurately represents who you are. Honesty is the best policy, especially in regards to photos.Oprah.com’s “Tips for Successful Online Dating” recommends that online daters keep pictures “recent and real.” Posted pictures should be taken within the last six months and include both a headshot and full-body shot. Also, avoid pictures with props and try not to post pictures taken with other people.

At Cyber-Dating Expert, we believe in authenticity from the onset and wish you much love and joy in cyberspace, or wherever you may roam.

Julie Spira is a top online dating expert and was an early adopter of online dating. She’s the author of the bestseller, The Perils of Cyber-Dating and coaches singles on the dating scene. For more online dating advice,? follow @JulieSpira on Twitter and sign up for the free Weekly Flirt newsletter.

Cyber Love Links – The Week’s Best Links for Love

cyberlovelinks2 300x67It’s time to share our favorite links to love, when you’re in the mood for love.

The last week in January was filled with tweets and articles on love in anticipation for the Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day.

Here are some of our top picks this week.

We were busy watching and tweeting from the Katie Show on the segment on ‘Catfishing.’? Her tips in How to Protect Yourself From Online Dating Scams taught us about a site, SpyDialer.com. Yes, you can type in your date’s cell phone number and it will anonymously play back his or her outgoing message. Smart or creepy? We’d like your opinion.

On Dr. Phil, he interviewed the man behind the Manti Te’o scam, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo. Tuiasosopo admitted being secretly in love with the Notre Dame football player. USA Today covered the story as it unfolded.

On a lighter side, our friends at Zoosk released their 3rd Annual Football Survey in time for the Super Bowl. Want to know which coaching brother ranked highest in the romance department by Zooskers?

We loved the article on GalTime, 7 Signs He’s the Right Guy to Be Your Valentine’s Date. If you’re on the fence, it’a a must-read. On Mashable, we got a chuckle out of Ask Siri to Buy Your Next Movie Tickets. It’s a great idea for date night.

POF just announced their 6 Finalists for their $100,000 wedding contest. You can vote for your favorite couple now through February 7th.

In the gratitude department, where do we begin?

Our article 5 Valentine?s Date Ideas to Enjoy Together is on the home page of eHarmony Advice. We also shared our tips on 5 Ways to Find a Date for Valentine’s Day on DatingAdvice.com. On Huffington Post, my article The Perils and Joys of Online Dating, gives a healthy balance to help you find love online safely.

Speaking of safety, it’s a priority here at Cyber-Dating Expert Headquarters, so I was thrilled to be invited to be the online dating expert on the Dr. Drew Show on HLN/CNN. Here’s a peek at part of the segment. Share it with your loved ones and trust your intuition. Thanks for Kim Calvert at Singular City for featuring this as their video pick of the week.

A huge thank you to DatingAdvice.com for putting me at the top of the list in their Top 10 Online Dating Experts, released this week. What an honor and joy to share the list with friends and other love experts who try to make a difference in the digital world.

Finally, thanks to the Boston Globe for quoting me in their article, Stories of love, deception have long been entwined.

We’re busy as digital bees gearing up for Valentine’s Day with a few surprise and exciting announcements to come.

Wishing you much love and joy in cyberspace, or wherever you may roam.

~Julie and the Cyber-Dating Expert Team

Julie Spira is a top online dating expert and founder of CyberDatingExpert.com. She creates irresistible profiles for singles on the dating scene and is the author of the bestseller, The Perils of Cyber-Dating: Confessions of a Hopeful Romantic Looking for Love Online. For more online dating advice, follow @JulieSpira on Twitter and at Facebook.com/CyberDatingExpert.

Are you an online dating success story? Submit your Cyber Love Story to get featured on our site.

Should You Become a Cyber-Sleuth? Julie Spira on Dr. Drew

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

Katie Couric’s Play That Online Dating Game?

i7oxcz70 300x235In the continuing coverage of Manti Te’o and other daters who’ve been duped by online dating romance hoaxes, Katie Couric featured an entire episode of online dating safety with tips on what you need to know, while looking for love online.

On the Katie Show, we learned that online dating sites get more than 500 million clicks per month. Katie added that and 81% of people lie on their profiles.

To add a little entertainment to the serious topic of Internet dating safety, Katie polled her studio audience with three relevant dating deal-breaker questions that most female online daters could relate to.

Dating Deal-Breaker 1

Katie: He’s talk dark and handsome. In real life he’s short and stout. Is that a deal breaker or not?

Audience: 69% said Yes. 31% said No.

Dating Deal-Breaker 2

Katie: His profile says his picture was from last week. Reality: It was from 1972. Is that a deal breaker or not?

Audience: 71% said Yes. 29% said No.

Dating Deal-Breaker 3

Katie: His profile says, ‘Filthy Rich.” Reality, he’s Dead Broke.

Audience: 58% said Yes. 32% said No.

For more online dating safety tips from the Katie show, visit KatieCouric.com.

Julie Spira is a top online dating expert and author of the bestseller, The Perils of Cyber-Dating. For more online dating advice,? follow @JulieSpira on Twitter, sign up for the Weekly Flirt newsletter and join the conversation at Facebook.com/CyberDatingExpert.

Lessons learned from the Manti Te’o Hoax

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.

  1. Your online crush is quick to say, “I love you.”
  2. Your chats only take place late at night, when everyone else is asleep.
  3. Your new love won’t hop on a Skype call or video chat.
  4. The photos seem too good to be real.
  5. Multiple excuses prevent you from meeting in person.
  6. Your digital pen pal asks for money.
  7. 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:

  1. Check their Facebook profile to see if the photos match up and if you have friends in common.
  2. Do a reverse phone number check by typing in their phone numbers in a Google search.
  3. Type in their email address in a Google search to see if they’ve created a digital footprint anywhere.
  4. Use photo recognition software such as TinEye.com where you can upload their photo and see if it appears anywhere else on the Internet.
  5. 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.

Manti Te’o Hoax and the ‘Catfish’ Syndrome [video]

 

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The phone starting ringing early in the evening on January 16th with news stations across the country wanting to know if the Manti’ Te’o story is common on the Internet.

In a Skype interview on KSDK in St. Louis, I talked about how to protect yourself from being a victim of a “Catfish.”

“The whole subject of fake profiles or falling in love with someone that doesn’t exist is sort of rampant,” says author and online dating expert Julie Spira.
She says some people are easy targets.

“They are so in love with love and they believe there is this unconditional love, and the moment someone shows them a lot of attention, if they’re lonely or if their heart has recently been broken and they become really vulnerable.”

“My number one tip is if you’re going to have a long distance pen pal with somebody and you’re flirting on facebook, text, or you’re on twitter or on an online dating site, get on the phone with them.”

She also says to google them, make sure their facebook pictures match the ones on the site where you met. And Skype with them.

“If somebody won’t hop on a Skype call, yet they’re saying I love you in a text message and they don’t want to hop on a Skype call or even a phone call and they’re talking about having children with you they are hiding something.”

And if you think someone isn’t who they say they are, she says contact the dating site and let them know.

Online Dating: Are You Dating a Catfish?

 

Online Dating Sites Will Become Safer for Singles [video]

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

 

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