Proceed with Caution - Online Dating Tips

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Dr. Pepper Schwartz: Yes, but you need to be careful. While the vast majority of people are reasonably honest (they may fudge a bit on weight or height), there are always a few opportunists and scam artists out there, and you need to be cautious. If you meet online, get some facts about the person's life -where he went to school, where he works and lives now - and then Google him and check out the facts. If they aren't true, you don't want to know this person. Most of these casual checks usually turn out okay.

Never give your home phone number or address until you have gone out a few times and the person has checked out. And always meet for the first time in a public place, such as a coffeehouse or casual restaurant, for coffee or tea. (A glass of wine could be okay later, but you really don't want alcohol clouding your vision or instincts!) If there is something about the person that bothers you but you can't quite name it, listen to that feeling and move on to someone else. Usually more contact will mean more confidence in your judgment, and over a few dates you will get a good feel for the person.

One exception to that: a really good con man. So here's a rule: No matter how charming, no matter how much he compliments you, no matter how "good" his reason, never give anyone money. Never. And if he asks, it's time for you to get out of there. No one should ever ask, even after six months or so of dating. Con men do exist, and you need to avoid them. Other than that, the chances of meeting someone wonderful -and honest - online are very good.

Dr. Schwartz  answers questions  every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  Submit your question hereRead more of Pepper's  columns here . And be sure to follow Pepper on Twitter  @pepperschwartz.


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