Be A Safe Dater
When using an online dating service, safety is always the top concern. Even on a Christian dating site, it is very important for individuals to be a safe dater. Stalkers have been known to prowl dating services of all types, and there are even people out there that will try to con you out of your money (which one individual tried to do to me). Taking a few simple cautious measures can go a long way in ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience.
First, when contacting someone you met through a dating service, never give them your personal information. This may sound obvious, but there subtle pieces of information overlooked by most people that can give a prowler exactly what they need. Information such as the type of company you work for and traffic conditions going to and from your job can help them determine where you work and how to find you. Connecting with them on a social networking site can also provide them with information about where you work, live, and spend your free time.
Many identity thieves also frequent dating services of all types, even Christian services. These individuals typically list information in their profile that makes them appear to be the ideal match for just about any individual. Soon after the initial contact, they begin claiming to face horrible obstacles they must overcome in life before they can meet you. They will then ask for a certain amount of money or payment information to help them overcome their problems, and then use that information to steal one’s identity. I have personally had someone try to use this tactic on me through a dating service. This individual was located in another country, which makes prosecution difficult and expensive at best (but typically impossible). Fortunately, I knew what red flags to watch out for and avoided the situation.
When meeting someone that you met through an online dating service, it’s very important to agree upon a public place during a time at which that location is likely to have many people around. Never agree to meeting in a parking deck, a home, or some other obscure location. In fact, you should carefully take enough time to get to know the person and their habits well before meeting in private. If they claim to be active in their church, attend a service with them and speak to some of the members to ensure that he or she is telling the truth (and be sure to drive yourself to their church rather than accepting a ride).
Finally, always pray about a potential match. God loves you and only wants the best for you. Pray for His guidance in any possible relationship, even if it seems like a good match. After all, if a relationship is not founded in Christ, it will simply not work. I have personally allowed a relationship that God was pulling me away from continue longer than it should have, and the effects of such a relationship can be more devastating than you could ever think possible. This is probably the best way to be a safe dater.