Is online dating really safe

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Unlike singles in the '70s, who cruised bars and discos and risked looking for love in all the wrong places, tens of millions of singles each day join and log on to online dating sites with the belief that their efforts to find love and companionship are safe and secure.

But the apparent murder and dismemberment of Ingrid Lyne, a 40-year-old Seattle-area mother of three, has sent shockwaves throughout the cyber-romance world, with many begging the question: Is anyone safe?

Meeting and building quick rapport is so easy online and lately I’ve noticed that women all too often let their guard down, lose their common sense or abandon their self protection to a total stranger.

Reflecting back to when I was single and looking after my divorce, I’m shocked at how easily a woman WHO I DID NOT KNOW would invite me to her home (having never met me before) after a few chats via phone/email/text.

However, is it really worth taking the risk for the 1-2% who might be dangerous?

As your heart protector, here are some common sense safety tips when you think he’s different: First, meet in a public place.

As a man who is an excellent communicator and emotionally connected, I was one of the most dangerous of daters.

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Using a profile photo from Facebook is fine if you’re not worried about being completely anonymous, but be cautious about how many images you share.

So, how do you protect yourself when you try online dating?

Bruce Anderson, director of Cyber Intelligence & Investigations, encourages cyber-daters to conduct a background check.

If someone is asking you to send them more photos of yourself - whether compromising or not - try to really think about what you’re sending, who’s going to see them and whether or not you’re easily identifiable in the photos.

Check out our guide to safe sexting for more information.

Things are going well, but in the back of your mind there’s a sense of One thing you can do to check your online mate is genuine is a quick Google image search, which will allow you to see where their profile image has been used before.

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