Online websites like LifeOUT.com are great methods by which to communicate with others and make friends. However, you should always use common sense when communicating with people you don't know to protect your privacy and safety. These are some tips to remember when communicating with and meeting with people from internet sites.
- Place consideration into what you place online. Don't post something that might embarrass you later.
- If you want to give someone your real name, e-mail address, phone number, etc you should get to know him a little and also ask him to provide you with the same info. Email him and call him to check that he gave you his real email and phone number and get to know him more. Never give out personal information that could be used against you. Be cautions about giving your address, place of work and never give out any financial information or things like your passport number, bank account numbers or your social security number.
- Be cautious about revealing information that could identify you. For example, if you give someone your listed phone number, they can get your real name and street address.
Meeting In Person
- Remember that when you meet someone you've chatted with online, you're really meeting them for the first time. When you're online you don't have non-verbal cues such as voice inflection or body language to guide your judgement of their honesty or intentions.
- Find out who your date is. Ask for your date's first name, where they work and live, what they like and do not like. Ask around if anyone knows the person.
- If you decide to meet the person you are chatting with make sure others know you are going out to meet them. Leave a trail behind you so that others can follow it. Leave the screen name of the person and address, phone number, time of your date or any other information that could be used to track you down. Leave this information at your computer or in another obvious place. Better yet, give this information to a friend!
- Take a cell phone with you and let others know where you are going. We also suggest that you have a friend phone you mid way through your date to give you an easy way out or simply to check and make sure things are going well.
- For your first meeting, pick a place that's public and neutral. If you're traveling to visit them in their town or neighborhood, you should pick a place you're comfortable with when you arrive. Wherever you go always map out an escape route!
- Have a plan for getting out of a bad situation. If things go bad or in case he tries to follow you home go home a more indirect route to make finding your home harder.
- Mix your own drinks and don't leave drinks unattended. Getting you drunk or giving you knockout drops is an easy way to cloud your judgment.
- Introduce your date to your friends or the bartender. Tell a friend where you are going. Make sure your date knows you spread the word about them.
- Protect your valuables. Do not carry extra cash. If you bring someone home, do not leave your wallet, cash or valuables in sight. Your possessions and the person you brought home could all be gone while you are in the shower or sleeping.