A prevalent problem Connecting with prospective matches electronically is a thrill, but hope and excitement can supersede sound judgment and fact checking.
A study about online dating and credit habits by Protect My ID.com, Experian's identity theft protection program, found that nearly half of the respondents never verify the authenticity of their chat mates, and nearly 10 percent actually sent them their Social Security numbers or bank account information.
Speak up, says Amy Cananday, public relations manager for Match.com, the Dallas company that pioneered online dating.
"We encourage our members to never share their credit card information with another member on the site and report suspicious activity immediately." Falzone, though, recognizes that it can take more than caution to stay safe when conversing over the Internet.
J., the Internet is good at disguising true intent. Sixty to 90 percent of human communication is nonverbal, so you're missing so much.
Here's how to protect more than just your heart when seeking a mate via the Internet.
Before getting the company's seal of approval, participating daters must physically go to one of their more than 50 locations and get checked, screened and cleared.
Still, says Falzone, "It's an ongoing fight that doesn't end." What's a dater to do?
Use the computer advantageously, says Jennifer Leuer, general manager for Protect My ID.
"Google their names, check them out on [social networking website] Linked In or use the Net's white pages." As you're investigating, make your own profile mysterious.