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  • Steve Carter

Online Dating: Tips to Help Keep You Safe – Part 2

If you haven’t yet read Part 1 of “Online Dating: Tips to Help Keep You Safe” post on this site, please read that post before reading this Part 2 post. You’ll find info about the “Dark Side” of online dating and research based safety practices to help keep you safe.

In this Part 2 post of, “Online Dating: Tips to Help Keep You Safe”, you’ll learn:

  • What information you should never share on dating and social media sites;

  • Why you should use restricted privacy settings for your social media sites; and,

  • How to get a free Google Voice Phone Number to use for calls so you don’t expose your cell or home phone number.

What Information Should Never be Shared on Dating and Social Media Sites

Never post any information online that could allow someone outside of your trusted circle of family and close friends to locate your residence or work location. This may seem like an obvious precaution, but I see posts on Facebook and other social media every day that ignore this common sense rule.

Let’s begin with obvious items that should never be posted on dating or social media sites:

  • Your home or work address;

  • The name of your employer, particularly if it is a one office / one location business;

  • The names of your parents, grandparents, siblings, or other family members;

  • Your date of birth;

  • Names and school information of children;

  • Your phone number and primary email address. Create a designated dating or social media email account on Gmail, AOL, or other web-based free email service;

  • The names of restaurants, parks, gyms, places of worship, or other easily identifiable locations you frequent regularly. For example, never post something like, “It’s great to be getting back in shape! I’m going to the ‘Y’ on Front Street every Tuesday and Thursday night”.

Other information that may seem innocent enough, but – combined with additional publicly available information – could be used to locate your residence or workplace. This includes:

  • Photos or description of your car. Your license plate number should never be in any photograph on anyone’s site;

  • Photos of your residence or workplace;

  • Photos of parks, clubs, or other locations you frequent regularly;

  • Posts about an event you plan to attend;

  • Posts about school or social events your children will be attending;

  • Posts about trips you’re planning to take;

Use Social Media Sites Privacy Settings

Social media sites such as Facebook offer privacy settings that allow you to determine who can see your posts and some other information.

To learn how to set privacy settings on Facebook, go to,

On, you can make your group memberships and interests private. I recommend doing so and using only your first name with no photo on your Meetup profile.

If you’re a member of other social media sites, check their privacy FAQs or use Google to search for the site name and “privacy settings”.

Use Caution in Deciding What to Post

If you have set restrictions using privacy settings on who can view photos and posts on your social media sites, you may choose to post information and photos you wouldn’t otherwise post to a site that can be seen by anyone.

Even with privacy settings enabled, you still need to be cautious about what information you share. For example, don’t post photos of you on vacation or somewhere other than your residence until after you return. Letting friends know you’re away could be an invitation for someone you think is an honest and trusted friend to break into your residence.

Get a Free Google Voice Number

To help reduce the risk of stalking or abusive calls after you’ve told someone you do not want to hear from them again, I recommend opening a Google Voice phone account. By using a Google Voice number that will ring on your cell or home phone, you need not expose your primary phone cell or home number for others to see.

To learn how Google Voice works and the easy process for getting a local area code Google Voice number, visit

Coming Attractions

In Part 1, I said you would learn in Part 2 how to conduct a quick background search to help weed out phonies. Because I’ve shared so much information about online safety in this Part 2 segment already, I’m going to dedicate an entire segment on how to do a basic background search and recognize “red flag” signals. That’s coming up in Part 3.

We invite you to share your thoughts about safe online dating or any other topic in the “Comments” section below. You can also email me directly at

Until our next post, please Stay Safe!

Steve Carter

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