10 Tips to Safety and Security in Online Matchmaking
Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert
My first passion has always been personal security as it relates to violence prevention. I got into this business 20 years ago as a result of violence in my own life and began to write, speak and train in self defense. Today is no different than back then, with the exception that there are many more ways for the bad guy to snare their victims.
Studies show online dating and matchmaking services in general are growing even in a recession. Many single men and women are logging in and attending speed dating sessions more than ever before. There are a couple of reasons for the increase in online dating. One, it is cheaper to join a service than it is to spend all kinds of money on a dinner and a bad blind date. Second, people want the comfort of being with someone in turbulent times. Having a companion to share in the fear, uncertainty and doubt can help people vent and find relief in each other.
However, in our never ending quest to Find Mr/Mrs Right, the one under-discussed, over looked and “it can’t happen to me” aspect of being on the dating scene is your personal security. Ive partnered with Intelius.com, a company that provides “DateCheck”, a background check to vet out and look for possible redflags in your potential mate.
1. Look for red flags. If you are contacted online and they make no reference to you or your name, it may be a “broadcast” scam going to others. If they immediately start talking about marriage and love and showing immediate affection run really fast. Anyone asking for money for any reason is a con-man. When communicating with someone online and it seems it takes days for them to respond, this may be a sign they are married.
2. When communicating with a potential mate via online dating or even in the physical world, please do not give up all your information to them until you are entirely sure they are “good”. That can take weeks, but it’s worth the wait. Bad guys lie, a lot. And they will keep up the ruse until they have what they need or until you are in a vulnerable place. So be discreet and keep your personal information private.
3. Read books on self defense and personal security. Watch instructional videos on self defense techniques. Take a self defense course. The single most effective self defense offering on the planet is a program called “Impact Model Mugging”. Search it online and find one near you. Drive 500 miles if you have to, but take this course and bring your sons and daughters with you. In this case knowledge certainly is power.
4. You’ve heard this before and it requires revisiting: meet your date in a populated place and drive yourself. And do it at least the first 5 times. The goal here is you want to get to know the energy of this person and what makes them tick. If simple stuff irritates them or they make racist or offensive jokes or exhibit behaviors not conducive to “healthy”, move on.
5. Do not consume alcohol when meeting, even with food. Alcohol lowers our inhibitions and makes us accept behaviors that aren’t appropriate. Don’t accept drinks from anyone under any condition unless you see the drink being poured and it goes straight to your hands. Slipping drugs in drinks happens every day.
6. Be direct about going ‘dutch’ in regards to paying for dinner. While this may seem extreme to some, studies show an large percentage of males still believe that when they buy a woman dinner that she “owes” him sex.
7. Take lots of pictures of them with your mobile phone and tell them you are emailing everyone in your life to show them who you are with and where you are.
8. Get as much information about them. You ask all the questions. Get their name, address, previous address, home phone, cell phone, place of birth, birthdate, where they work, license plate and if you can squeeze it out of them, and I kid you not, get their Social Security number.
9. Go online to iSearch.com and Google and search every bit of information about them you have acquired. You want to know as much about this person as possible. Search name, phone, email and screen name. As you “mine” this data, the deeper you dig the more you will find. The goal is to look for truth and lies. If you see inconsistencies, or red flags that can’t be easily explained, run really fast.
10. Go online to Intelius.com and perform a “Date Check”. With a name and birth date you can do a comprehensive background check that will tell you if they have been convicted of a crime, gone bankrupt, are being sued and if they are married.
A background check is an entirely necessary tool that alerts you to any red flags or inconsistencies in their dialog with you. Performing a background check is inexpensive, quick and smart.
Robert Siciliano discussing self defense on Fox