Trying Out Online Dating Websites? Here Are 3 Safety Tips There are well over 50 million single people around. With that many people, you’d think it’d be easy to find a date, and — eventually — “the one.” But with today’s fast-paced, career-focused world, finding the time to go places and meet people is nearly impossible. Thus came the rise of online dating sites. Since their inception, they’ve virtually exploded, and today, one out of every 10 Americans have used an online dating site in some form. Two-thirds of online daters have gone on dates with people that they met online, and almost 25% of users say they’ve met a spouse or began a long-term relationship through dating websites. However, with this explosion of online dating comes a number of concerns. Mainly, are dating sites safe? Is online dating safe? With shows like Criminal Minds and Catfish: The TV Show, it seems like the answer would be no. There are a few online dating websites out there that have made it their mission to create a safe dating site for users. In addition to using sites that focus more on personal safety, there are a few tips for safety in the online dating space: When making your online profile, don’t post any contact information This includes phone number, address, email accounts, etc. If you put your Facebook or Twitter page on your profile, be sure to increase the security settings on there as well. You don’t have to hide your true self or anything, but you don’t want the wrong people being able to find your information. Do some “background check dating.” Don’t be afraid to do a little detective work. If the profile picture seems a little too good to be true, search for that image on Google. An easy way to do that is to right-click on the image and select “Search Google for image.” This’ll let you know if the image was posted elsewhere and determine if it could, in fact, be them. If you’re already chatting with him or her, ask them a question and then ask it differently later. Be on the lookout for any changes to their story, no matter how minor. When going on the first date, follow these practices: First, tell a friend about it — let somebody know that you’ll be out tonight with somebody you met online. That way, at least somebody knows where you are. Make sure that the date is in a public place — restaurants, coffee shops, etc. Don’t let the initial meeting be at his or her place. It’s best to bring your own car, which puts you in charge of when you leave. And lastly, though it might be tempting or a good way to lighten the mood, avoid drinking alcohol. Alcohol can impair your judgement, which can put you in bad situations. It’s important not to let the risks of online dating websites turn you off to the practice. It’s an excellent way to meet people, especially for the modern career-oriented woman. Time is a commodity many of us don’t have, and online dating websites help the temporally-challenged ones find the happiness they deserve.