Getting to know them

Just met someone online? Take the time to get to know them. Ask as many detailed questions as possible before committing to meet. Sometimes the person on the other end of the computer may not be who they say they are. Watch for inconsistencies or strange behaviours. If you see any warning signs, or just have a bad feeling about the person, trust your instinct and stop chatting. Trust your better judgement despite any persistence to meet from them.

Protect Yourself

Never disclose your personal information with a stranger online. It’s not necessary to use a fake name, but be wary of giving out your address, email address, place of work, or any other sensitive information.

Leave a trail

Stay on the side of caution by leaving a note at home detailing where you’re travelling to or by telling a friend about your date and your exact locations. This may seem a pain in the butt and that nothing will ever happen to you.

But your safety is well worth a few seconds of time should something go wrong. Let him know that you have told a friend about your meeting.

Get the picture

No photo, no date. That’s a good rule to live by in online dating. Ask them to email pictures other than the ones in their profile. Get as many details about the picture as possible, including the dates that they were taken. Save the picture in an accessible folder on your computer, you could also email to your friend.

Talk to them

You can tell a lot about a person by the way they communicate. Does something about the conversation make you uncomfortable? Do you have a bad feeling? Before meeting in person, listen carefully during video chat sessions and phone conversations.

Meeting up

Meet in a relaxed, but public place with as many people around as possible. Try a busy restaurant or cafe. Avoid meeting at their or your home or in dark, hidden places. Arrange for your friend to call you ten or twenty minutes into your date, if you are not sure about them, you can use this call as a reason to leave.

Have an escape route

Know where your exits are and the most effective way to use them should you feel uncomfortable at any time after meeting in person. Visit the place you’re supposed to meet before meeting him there. After the date, take a route other than your normal path should he attempt to follow you without your consent.

Know their history

The best way to protect your sexual health is to know the sexual history of your partner. Not everyone tells the truth about their HIV status. Warning signs are refusal to answer questions about their status, being vague about the date of their last STI tests, ambiguity about the number of partners they’ve been with, and willingness to have sex without a condom. Asking if they are “okay” is not enough. Protect yourself by assuming your partner is positive until proven otherwise.