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  Online Dating Safety Tips

Online, we are mostly dealing with two kinds of safety: personal safety and PC safety.  We want to avoid psychos, and also avoid viruses and spam (junk e-mail).  We’ll start with avoiding psychos …

  Online Safety From Loonies

The simplest way to avoid lunatics is by using common sense.  Do not give out personal info — your last name, phone number, credit card numbers, and so on.  If you do decide to let someone know personal information, wait until you really get to know them or have a really good feel of them.

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PC and Anti-Virus Safety

It’s almost always a good idea to chat on the phone a few times before meeting someone.  And except for rare instances, I typically talk to a person online for 2-8 weeks before I entertain the idea of talking to them on the phone.  I then like to have a few good phone chats before I entertain the idea of meeting them in person.

Am I overly cautious?  I hope so.  There are a lot of nuts out there, and I don’t want psychos knowing my last name or my home address.  When I finally do decide to meet someone, I do it in a well-populated public place.  A restaurant or coffee shop in a mall or shopping center is always good.

It’s unfortunate that one has to be so cautious.  But these days, better safe than sorry.  On top of all that, I always use a separate email address for online dating stuff.  This way, people don’t know my real email address and if things go wrong, I simply create another pseudo email address.  As far as computer safety …

  Online Computer Safety

There are a few things I want to avoid when meeting people on dating services: spam, viruses, and liars.  The junk email and the liars tend to go hand-in-hand.  And after a short period, it’s pretty easy to spot the liars.  Here’s an example …

You’ll see a personal ad.  The woman is gorgeous.  In her ad, she says she’s new in town and looking for a casual fling.  This already sounds shady, but it gets even better.  She also states that she has no preference on a guy’s age, height, looks, or income.  How often does a gorgeous woman seek a guy with any income, any height, any nationality, any distance away from her, and aged 21-99?  Hmm … never.

What’s the story?  The story is, it’s a scam.  This is a person trying to collect email addresses so they can bombard you with email advertisements.

This type of thing happens all the time.  I’ve even seen identical personal ads on dating services where the only thing that changed was the headline and the picture.  How do you avoid this?  Follow the simple rule of thumb: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

As far as protecting your PC from viruses, it’s a good idea to have a firewall (something that protects your ports) and an anti-virus program.  And both should be updated regularly.

I can throw out the big names like Norton.  But being a big name doesn’t necessarily mean the product is the best, it often means it’s simply the most expensive.

Rather than blindly throw out names, I deeply investigated anti-virus and firewall software.  And I was not surprised to find that the top recommended software was not Norton or McAfee.  As usual, being the big name does not mean being the best.  So what was the best anti-virus software?

According to numerous sources, including PC World, Microsoft, and Computer User Magazine, the best anti-virus software is Panda Antivirus Platinum.  Now, until I looked into this I had never heard of Panda Antivirus.  If you’re in the same boat as I was, click here to see reviews of the software.

Of course, no matter what, you can’t go wrong by avoiding sketchy web sites.  Also, don’t open email from anyone you don’t know.  Ever.


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