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Meeting people online is almost more common than meeting potential dates in person these days. There are countless websites that brag about instant connections and long-lasting flings. While these websites are designed for quick conversation and Friday night dates, they often fail to mention basic safety precautions associated with meeting someone in person from the Internet.

1. Stalk Their Profile Once and Then Stalk It Again

When you first meet someone online, it can be a thrilling experience. But when they don't have much filled out on their profile, the excitement disappears. You want to learn about them, their likes, their dislikes and what makes them tick before you meet them. By checking their profile once and then checking it again, you can spot any discrepancies and ask any questions you might have about who they are and what they do.

2. Know Who You're Talking To

If there are no pictures on his dating profile, that may be a sketchy sign that his conversation might not be worth your time. Or, he could be an international businessman who has a thing for privacy. Whatever the reason, have him forward you some pics before your head and your heart get overly involved.

3. Google Search Like a Pro

Once they give you a name, Google search it to see that he's real. And then see that he hasn't picked up any recent arrests or strange convictions. One of the best things the Internet provides is anonymity. However, that's also the scariest. Just make sure to know who you are talking to and their motives for communication.

4. Ask About a Skype Date

If you're nervous about meeting outside of the Internet, recommend a Skype date first. Not only will it ease the tension associated with meeting in public, it will also give you a chance to get to know each other better before taking further steps.

5. Tell Your Friends What You're Doing

When you decide to meet him, let your friends know exactly what you are doing. Tell them where you are going, when you will be home and who you are going with. It might be a little embarrassing to admit that you are using the Internet as a means of social interaction, but they're your friends and they have probably done it too.

Overall, when it comes to online dating, trust your gut and always remember that you are not obligated to meet with anyone, no matter how nice they appear to be.

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