Tips specific to online or location-based services are listed later. Risks consumers should be aware of: In addition, most dating services do not perform criminal background checks on members; and Privacy risks - having your personal information made available to a wider audience than you expect, such as your co-workers or family members. The Attorney General recommends: Say NO to high-pressure sales presentations with "now or never" offers -- unless time is truly of the essence such as an emergency , any legitimate business will allow consumers time to study a complex, expensive contract and reflect on whether to sign it; Read your contract carefully before signing it -- including all "fine print" -- so you know exactly what you're buying.
Some contracts make it easy for the dating service to avoid responsibility, but difficult for consumers to get their money back; Be extremely suspicious of any requests for money, especially before you have met the person face to face; Be cautious with your personal information. This includes financial information, contact information, and photographs of yourself; Never agree to meet for the first time in a private setting.
Insist on a public place where there are sure to be other people around and tell a member of your family or a friend where you will be and when you will contact them again after the meeting. Arrange your own transportation to and from the meeting and have a working cellular phone with you, if possible, with a pre-programmed, one-touch emergency number. And leave all available information about the person you will be meeting with your contact; and Contact the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division or your local police department if you believe you have been treated unfairly or fear for your safety.
Contact information is provided at the end of this alert. Online Dating -- Privacy and Security Risks In order to register for an online dating service, consumers are often asked to provide exhaustive personal information. How this information will be handled varies widely between companies. Most companies keep certain information private while making other details available to other members or even to anyone with Internet access.
While many online dating services are inexpensive, some are not; Do not use an e-mail address you use for other purposes, and avoid using any address that contains your name or your employer or school name. Instead, use an e-mail address from a service that will permit you to open an account without giving out your personal information. The site uses your profile to personalize the matches that it delivers to you. It also offers a high level of search customization; the Mutual Match function, for example, allows you to find people who are looking for someone like you.
While viewing member profiles is free, a subscription is needed to contact someone member conversations happen via email, chat and instant messaging. Membership plans range from one to six months. So a personality test, aimed at determining values, beliefs, characteristics and, ultimately, compatibility, is the first order of business for new members.
Membership plans range from a month to a year. The site gathers profile information through entertaining and insightful quizzes and social networking activities, such as instant messaging, blogs, public forums and email. All this is then incorporated into the matching-up process. The site is free to all. Minimal information is required to start, so new users are up and running in no time.
Searching and finding others is also easy.
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