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Without a shared history or mutual friends, the people feel interchangeable." Jeff N., 55, says that he has slowly warmed up to online dating: "I used to be very shy about it and still don't feel entirely comfortable.Maybe I'm a bit old-fashioned; I like to meet in person first and then see where things go, rather than communicating online, then meeting the person and seeing if they live up to expectations," However, he adds, "Online dating forces you to be more outgoing, and it is an easy way to potentially connect with a lot people, especially if one isn't in many social situations." Eve B., is a 55 year-old teacher and writer in Manhattan who did her homework prior to her first date: I did Google religiously when vetting a cyber-date prospect, to try to find out as much as I could about him -- and thus assure myself that he was who he said he was.(Consider the fake Nigerian prince email scams so many of us have received.) Listen to the experts. " says Julie Spira, a leading online dating expert, bestselling author of , and creator of profiles for singles via Cyber Dating "Dating sites (usually) take their members' safety issues very seriously and make it easy for you to report any suspicious profiles or serious problems right away.Apparently it is easier for scammers to work their magic long-distance, where it is more challenging for them to get caught. While scams are often local, many come from abroad.Keep on the lookout for hardship stories: This person should be courting you, not asking for an emergency handout! Upload a potential date's photograph on Tin Eye, which will let you see where else on the Internet the photo has appeared. Their messages are filled with bad grammar and often have an odd tone.Most online dating sites also offer tips to help you get started.
These days you're in the minority if you don't know at least one person who met their current husband, wife or partner on an online dating site.
If you've been considering taking the plunge into Internet dating but aren't quite sure how to get started, here are my nine key tips to ensure that your experience is a positive, safe and successful one.
• Tip #1: If you're not familiar with technology or unsure what to write on your profile, ask a younger friend, relative or co-worker to help you.
Here are a few safety tips you should know before you go looking for love online, with some reassurances from seasoned "virtual" daters. Wait until you actually meet the person and build up a level of trust before you share your address, phone number or real email address.
(You typically use an encrypted email on these sites.) Stay local.
Maybe you'll meet someone nice in a museum, or at a party, or at work ...