Free dating sites are fun, but make sure you're safe...

  • Online dating is great fun, but there are a few things that you should pay attention to if you sign up for a free dating site online...

  • Don’t give out any personal details to anyone until you are certain you can trust them. Remember, everyone is a stranger online.

  • Don’t believe peoples sob stories. If they want to tell you something about their history that’s painful to them, ask yourself why they are telling you - a stranger.

  • Don’t pay any attention to people who ask you to use other messaging methods such as Facebook or MSN until you are certain you can trust them. People who ask you to go onto another service to chat will usually do so to try and get you to eventually pay for other services.
  • Beware of dating sites that sell themselves as “free to join”. This essentially means it’s free for you to give your details but cough up if you want to message anyone.

  • Out of principle, if a dating site that advertises itself as ‘free’ charges you to send messages to people, remove yourself from their website quickly and don’t go back. As far as I’m concerned, that’s misrepresenting a sale and the internet needs more policing of websites like that.

  • Don’t use dating sites that don’t format correctly in your browser or look like they have been created by an amateur – they probably have.

  • Don’t believe all the false glossy pictures of happy couples advertised on the home pages of some dating sites and ask yourself why they can’t show genuine people.

  • Be considerate when chatting and messaging other people online because they will be just as anxious and nervous as you. Don’t be rude to them even if they do not respond.

  • Ignore pervy and blunt messages from people. They are probably sending the same messages to lots more.

  • Beware of the ‘cam girl’ spammers who pretend to befriend you then ask you to watch them online at a price – and not a cheap one either!

  • Pay more attention to messages that have good content. It usually shows that person is really interested in you and has taken time to write a message to you.

  • Don’t get desperate. If you haven’t been successful in even chatting with someone online, let alone meeting anyone, stay calm and do not harass others. Someone will establish communication with you eventually.

  • Don’t give up on websites that may not have any members in your local area. New members join free dating sites every day so you might miss your chance if you delete your account with them. Remember, finding the right person online can take time just as it can offline.

  • Help promote the better free dating sites out there by contributing to their forum if they have one or spreading the word around. The more traffic a good free dating site can get, the faster it grows and the more people you have to choose from. Also, let friends and colleagues know if you come across a free dating site that you think is really good.

  • And lastly, remember that free dating sites are not there to 'guaranty' that you'll meet anyone. Nobody can do that but you. It all depends on how well you present yourself and how good a communicator you are. Make an effort, and you'll get somewhere.