Lawsuits around the country have sought to hold internet dating sites responsible for negligence in cases where users have been attacked by individuals they met on those sites.
A recent lawsuit, in California against Match.com serves as an example. The suit was prompted by a woman who allegedly suffered a sexual attack after a second date with a man whom she met through the site. She subsequently sued Match.com calling for the site to employ basic background checks on all users since her alleged assailant had previously been charged for sex crimes.
The injunction also requested the site be prohibited from accepting new users until the company implemented sex offender screening. Match agreed to comply. You can read more about the case on the HuffPost Los Angeles site.
The above case is one of several horrifying stories involving online dating sites. What can users do to protect themselves?
Below are some safety tips recommended by authorities that should be followed when interacting with dating sites.
? If you decide to take the plunge and meet someone in person, that you’ve met online, agree to meet in a public place (such as a restaurant or coffee shop). This is first and foremost the most important safety rule of internet dating.
? Use an anonymous email, such a Yahoo or Gmail when using a dating site so you don’t have to use your real name. Keep in mind, these sites have thousands of users and having your name and information out there isn’t only unsafe, it’s not smart.
? When you are first getting to know someone via the computer (and in person), do not give out sensitive information such as your home address or even your home phone number which can easily help someone find your address. If you have decided you are have reached a point that to want give out your number, it is safer to give out your cell phone number. It goes without saying that you should never give out your social security number, credit card information or send anyone cash. While these may sound like common sense, you would be surprised to know how many times these suggestions are ignored.
? There are a few red flags that you should look for while taking to someone over the computer. He/she should not appear too concerned about what you are doing and where you are. Do they seem possessive? Have you noticed they have given you inconsistent information only to have a perfect answer when asked about it? Avoid phone contact or pushes to meet in person too quickly. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but includes some basic red flags to watch out for.
? Last and most important, tell a friend or family member about your date, including what time you are meeting and where. It’s always a good idea to have someone know where you are at all times should you need help or feel uncomfortable.
Your safety is most important at all times, especially during the initial stages of dating and online dating, while you are still getting to know someone that you don’t know very much about.that