In the past, singles met available dating partners mainly at social events and through introductions by mutual acquaintances, but the Internet has opened up a whole new world of possibilities. Today, with seemingly endless opportunities for making a good match online, the potential for trouble is also on the rise. Online personal ads, dating services and chat room romances can and do lead to deception, violence and—in rare cases—death.Dealing with Online Dating Profiles or Ads Forged in Your Name
There's no way to know if someone has placed a personal ad in your name until you begin receiving phone calls, emails or you receive an unwanted knock on your door. If you are approached, here are six simple steps to take:
1. Try to remain calm and ask the person who has contacted you where he or she saw the ad.
2. If possible, get a URL for the offending webpage; go to the page and print out several copies of the ad to keep as evidence.
3. Contact the webhost of the page or site where the ad was placed and ask for the ad to be removed.
4. If the webhost refuses to remove the ad, contact your local police and ask for intervention on your behalf to have the ad removed (provide them with the URL and hard copy of the ad). Assuming they agree, this usually resclves the issue.
5. Contact an online organization such as http://www.haltabuse.org/
or CyberAngels for help.
6. Consider changing your email address with your ISP. If you do, share your new email address only with people you know and trust; open a free email account on a website such as Hotmail or Yahoo! and use it for general email.Online Dating Resources
Of the hundreds of online dating sites available, here is a list of some of the most popular. Search for "online dating" in your favorite search engine to find additional sites, and add other terms to the search if you have special dating interests.Match.com
: One of the oldest dating sites (founded in 1995), Match.com
claims 49 percent of online users look for love online rather than offline.Cupid.com
is known for its advertising campaign, which it claims attracts more new members than any other comparable site. It offers a free basic membership, which allows you to place a personal ad/profile with photo, send and receive Eye Contacts (to let someone know you're interested), and reply to a member who contacts you.eHarmony.com
: You fill out a personality profile and the service scientifically selects the best matches for you. This is the only dating site of which I'm aware that boasts a team of Ph.D. psychologists who conduct follow-up research into the quality of the relationships that result.