Millions of people all over the world use dating sites as a means of communication, finding friendships and as a starting point for relationships but with the term stranger danger slowly disappearing, how safe are dating websites?
There are the obvious dangers; you could be talking to anyone as you don’t need to prove your identity to join up, it’s easy to exchange information and sometimes the sites attract scamsters.
In September a study by Leicester University was released and uncovered that about 200,000 people in 2010 may have been persuaded to give money to fraudsters using false identities to pursue relationships with them.
Sharon Kell runs the relationship site cocomoon.co.uk and backs the study, saying that something needs to be done to help rectify this.
She says, “These fraudsters cause untold misery not just financially, but emotionally and psychologically for the people involved.
“It is imperative that people who are searching for a fulfilling relationship do their research and check out the credentials of any organisation purporting to offer this type of service to make sure it is reputable.
Sharon assures her clients that this type of scams will not happen in her agency, she prefers to introduce member through a personalised process rather than have a computerised checklist matching people accordingly.
Rochelle Peachey runs iloveyouraccent.com and she says it’s all about common sense and awareness. She also stresses that you seek out a trustworthy and reputable site when wanting to join up to a dating site.
She says, “Free sites are the ones to watch out for as people use those and invariably use fake names and throw away email addresses. There are no paper trails if anything should go wrong, you can be anybody on a free site.”
Rochelle advises that you Skype with a person you have been emailing, if they refuse more than twice then cut all ties as it’s likely they aren’t who they say they are. She also says keeping your wits about you is important.
She says, “Under no circumstances fall for the sob story and this is for men and women. Don't be fooled by the pretty face or handsome soldier who just needs money to buy a ticket home to see their dying mother. Would you give a stranger in Tesco cash because they told you a sorry tale?”
At the end of the day, your own safety should always come first when using internet sites. Never give your details to people you just met or are unsure of at any point and always check out a site thoroughly before you use it to prevent fraud or anything more serious. They seem obvious but they could be the different between your dating dream and dating disaster.
Finally, remember Dating Sites can be fun and friendly if used correctly and for the right reasons. Rochelle says, “Most people on Dating Sites are fine and are seeking love and friendship but as with anything, there are always bad apples and if you are smart and savvy, they won’t get to you.”