A simple yet comprehensive guide to staying safe when meeting a stranger in person or dealing with one online.
Safety Tips for Online Stranger Encounters
- When online, give out as little info as possible.
- If possible, meet people on sites that scrutinize their users, though even an extensive profile can be convincingly faked. Do your homework on these sites.
- Don’t rely only on profiles. Seek out their name online to see what comes up.
- Use a disposable e-mail address (or phone number) service or app.
- Speak on the phone first; it’s harder for a man to pretend he’s a woman this way.
In-Person Safety Tips with Strangers
- Use your smartphone to share where you’ll be with family and friends. There are apps that will let trusted people view where you’re at.
- Choose more than one meeting place (well-lit, very public). This is because you may want to go to a second location if it’s a date, or if it’s a buy-sell, the other person may get lost.
- For a buy-sell, bring someone with you.
- For dating or business, bring minimal cash, only the amount you expect to pay for an item. Keep extra cash (for haggling) separate and unseen by the stranger.
- If the stranger must come to your home to view an item you’re selling, leave your front door open. Try to have someone with you.
- Do a background check on anyone whose house you’re going to (such as to clean or babysit).
Safe Strategies with Strangers
- Never get into a car with a stranger.
- Arrange a nearby meeting place for you and trusted friends, after your blind date or business meeting. If it’s a blind date, your friends could be across the street having dinner; only one text message away.
- Stick to your meeting place plans; don’t veer off-course.
ROBERT SICILIANO, CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com is fiercely committed to informing, educating, and empowering Americans so they can be protected from violence and crime in the physical and virtual worlds. His "tell it like it is" style is sought after by major media outlets, executives in the C-Suite of leading corporations, meeting planners, and community leaders to get the straight talk they need to stay safe in a world in which physical and virtual crime is commonplace. Siciliano is accessible, real, professional, and ready to weigh in and comment at a moment's notice on breaking news.
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