The internet is useful, fun and necessary in this day and age but it can also can be a very dangerous place. We have set out some of the ways below to help you stay safer.

Never give your credit card, financial or personal information to others. If making an online transaction, make sure the website is secure and uses a reputable payment vendor.

Never fall for sob stories from Romance Scammers. Romance Scammers are people who generally create a fake profile and slowly lure you in. Make you fall in love with them or make you feel sorry for them. Then eventually asking for money or bank details to rob you. While we try and delete any fake profiles when ever we can, we can never be 100% sure all profile is real. You need to treat everyone with caution.

If you are meeting someone for the first time in real life on a date, then meet in a public place. Make sure you pass on their details to someone close and text them to let them know you are ok.

Never give out your passwords to others for obvious reasons.

Be careful what you download. Hackers cleverly attach viruses to innocent looking files. This includes file sharing and images.

Choose strong passwords. Do not use date of birth, simple words or things like pets names. Use a combination of lower and upper case letters, numbers and symbols eg: u&5s5rKNu4fuPM

Be careful what you post online. You may never be able to remove it. Even if you do get it removed, people and other search engines may have copied it.

Never use your real name on your profile.

Never upload a photo on your profile or anywhere on the internet that shows your address or private information, including your real name.

Always keep your Anti-Virus software up to date.

Online dating
Do not include any personal information in your profile, e.g. your home address, workplace address, email address or telephone number. Reputable dating sites make safety paramount so that their members can be part of a safe online dating environment and any personal information given in your profile will automatically be deleted.
Take your time getting to know someone online before revealing any personal information about yourself and before arranging to meet him or her. Take advantage of anonymous messaging facilities.
Don’t lie in your profile or fake your photograph. Remember, honesty really is the best policy so if you are serious about meeting someone genuine, be yourself.
It is a good idea to set up a free email account like Hotmail. This way you do not have use your main personal email address in the event that you no longer wish to have contact with a member.
Be careful if you think a member is lying to you.
Beware of someone who: Pressures you to meet instantly.
Pressures you for your personal contact information when they won’t provide personal information about themselves.
Is inconsistent with information about their age, marital status, employment etc.
Avoids answering reasonable questions directly.
Contradicts information shown on their profile or which they have previously told you.
Don’t be afraid to flirt a little if that’s how you feel but equally don’t be too flirtatious as it could be taken the wrong way. Never talk about sex or imply this is what you are looking for.
If someone is making you feel uncomfortable stop emailing him or her. Again, most reputable dating sites provide facilities for you to instantly block messages from a member who becomes a nuisance.

Offline dating
If you decide you would like to meet someone “offline” only pass on minimal information to begin with. Start with your email address then mobile telephone number. Both of these can be changed easily if necessary.
If you telephone another member use the blocking feature to prevent your number appearing on Caller ID.
If you arrange to meet someone, always ensure it is in a public place and preferably in daylight for the first meeting.
Do not arrange any initial meetings at your home and never invite them into your home until you feel ready to do so.
Always let someone else know who you are going to meet, where you are going and what time you should be back home.
Take your mobile phone with you and keep it switched on.
Don’t drink too much and never leave your drink unattended ? keep your wits about you! Take enough money for a taxi home and don’t accept a lift home with your date even if you they appear to be great person.
Finally, be sensible and trust your instincts ? they are usually right!
Reprinted from (no longer an active website)

Safe Calls
It doesn’t cost anything to be cautious. Don’t take chances when your mental, physical and emotional health could be at risk.
Do what’s right for you, but consider these or similar suggestions very seriously before agreeing to meet someone for the first time. Any person who is reputable and trustworthy will have no problems with these or similar procedures, and if they do, perhaps that is the warning signal that they are not what they appear to be.
The following information should be given to the person(s) receiving your safe calls:
Your full name
Your home address and phone number
Make, model, color, and license plate number of your car if you are driving yourself, or detailed information if you are using other transportation.
ALL the information you have on the person you are meeting, including:
Their full name and computer username/s or logon IDsTheir address and telephone phone numbers
Their age, description, any and all information you have on the person you are meeting.
Tell your safe call person(s):Where you are meeting
The name of place you are meeting
The address of the meeting place, including room number (if applicable) and phone number (if you do not have it ahead of time, give it during first phone call)
When you are meeting – time and date
Telephone your safe call person(s):Be sure to have agreed and understood code words for your safe call, one indicating that everything is okay (e.g. This is a lovely place), and one indicating that you need help (e.g. Don’t forget to feed the cat for me.).
The first phone call should be made within 15 minutes of the established meeting time.
The second phone call should be made within 1 hour after the first.
The third phone call should be made within 2 hours after that or before leaving the place of the meeting, whichever comes first.
The fourth phone call should be made within 30 minutes of leaving the meeting.
If the meeting lasts longer than 3 hours, phone calls should be made no less than every 2 hours apart until you part company … then proceed with the departing call and the last call.

What is a Red Flag?
“Red flag” is a term to describe a personal trait or behavior that is common in people who are harmful to their partners. When getting to know someone online it is very important that you look for these red flags. When you see these red flags slow down or stop the relationship. Understand that none of these red flags alone are definitely a sign of a bad person. They only tend to be an indicator of a problem situation. The more you see these red flags, the more you are at risk. Many of these red flags can apply to both unhealthy men and women.
Tries to separate you from your friends, family or family.
Avoids talking about personal details.
Gets mad when you ask questions or quickly ends the conversation when you do or answers questions with questions.
Has no references or friends you can talk to.
Gets angry when you ask for references or ask around about them.Is inconsistent with details about themselves.
Does not give you their home and work phone number at the appropriate time.
Only communicates with you at strange hours and gets mad if you try to contact them at other times.
Criticizes the community and refuses to participate, especially if they never were part of it.
Consistently breaks promises.
Always finds excuses for not meeting, Always puts blame on others for things going wrong.
Does not take personal responsibility. Has a bad relationship with most or all of their family members.
Pressures you into doing things you do not want to do.
Does not respect your limits, negotiations or contracts.
Pushes you into a relationship too fast.
Falls in love with you way too fast and swears undying love before even meeting you.
Tries to make you feel guilty for not being good enough.
Loses control of their emotions in arguments and regresses to yelling, name-calling and blame.
Puts you down in front of other people.
Turns instantly on their friends, going from best friend to arch enemy at the drop of a hat.
Treats you lovingly and respectfully one day and then harshly and accusingly the next.
Goes to great lengths to get revenge on people.
Lies or withholds information.
Cheats on you or is overly jealous.
Will not discuss what your possible future relationship could be like.
Tries to keep you in the dark about what might happen next in the relationship.
Does not respect your feelings, rights, or opinions.
Belittles your ideas.
Blames you for your hurt feelings.
Abuses alcohol or other drugs.
Is constantly asking for large amounts of money from you or others.
Threatens suicide or other forms of self-harm.
Deliberately says or does things that result in getting themselves seriously hurt.
Monitors your communications (emails, phone calls, chats) with others.
Only interacts with you in a kinky or sexual manner as if role-playing.
Will not have normal everyday vanilla conversations.
Never shows you their human side.
Is emotionless.
Hides their vulnerability.
Has multiple online identities for interacting with the same communities.
Disappears from communication for days or weeks at a time without explanation. Is rude to public servants such as waitresses, cashiers and janitors.
Never says thank you, excuse me or I am sorry to anyone.

There are many other ways to keep safe and we recommend you search around the internet for other safety advice such as by following the link below: