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WEB EXTRA: Do's and don'ts of online dating

(Courtesy: janeb13 / Pixabay, via MGN Online)

(WKEF/WRGT) - FOX 45 spoke with Safety Expert Bill Parsons, who said online dating is incredibly risky and potentially dangerous.

"I mean, talk about shooting into the dark," he said. "You literally have no idea who you're talking to."

Parsons puts online dating into the "high danger" category and wouldn't advise anyone to do it.

"But," he said, "if you're going to do it, at least be safe about it."

Here are the DO's and DON'Ts of online dating:

  • DO meet in a public place with multiple entrances and exits. "A mall would be a good meeting spot," Parsons said. "You don't want the person to be able to follow you to your car." It's also important you choose a place that is busy with a lot of people nearby.
  • DON'T drive together or leave together. Being in a car with a complete stranger is incredibly dangerous, especially if that person is driving. It gives him or her complete control.
  • DO tell a friend where you are going and when. If possible, have a friend come with you to keep an eye out. "If that's not possible," Parsons said, "at least set up a safety call where you will call that person at a certain time to let them know you're okay."
  • DON'T tell the person you are meeting where you live.
  • DO try to remain as anonymous as possible for as long as possible. "Trust is earned, not given," Parsons said. "Make that person earn your trust."
  • DO trust your gut. If something feels off, end the date early and leave. Your instincts are usually right.
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