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“Ask The Experts” is written and provided by Scholarship Media. It does not reflect the views of The Collegian or its advertisers.
I met someone through FB. Since he is not a student, I really don’t know enough about him. What common sense things should I look for?
Using social media to meet people is now the common standard for most people of college age. Being online permanently makes it easy to find and connect with new and potential partners. However, there are some potential pitfalls with arranging to meet strangers that you found online. As we will find out, not everything is always as it seems and it pays to be a little cautious with new FB relationship.
Honesty is the basis of all successful partnerships, so it pays to confirm the person has represented himself genuinely. Getting some background information is a good start, especially with a Facebook relationship. It will either verify the person’s truthfulness or perhaps reveal something a little sinister. Find people by searching online and see what comes up, as they may be using different profiles on other social media sites. You may also find they are not using their real name, so a search could be fruitless.
With a real name, you may be able to get an address or a place of work. If they have nothing to hide, they should have no problem telling you where they live and work before you meet. It would be a good idea to actually check this out to make sure you are getting the truth.
There have been some horror stories about internet dates. Guys may lie about their age, especially if they are a lot older than you, so ask a few questions. Many are also already in relationships or even married so do not be duped. There are plenty of stories about women who have met their dream guy only to find out he has been playing the field for a long time.
Secrets could go even deeper and he may have children. Even college-aged guys can have kids from a previous relationship. Fake identities and profiles on social media are rife, according to reports 1 in 4 people lie on Facebook. It is very easy to create a profile using a fake email address and bogus information. A video call before meeting is an obvious opportunity to check them out first.
Be very careful with the information you divulge about yourself in advance. Personal identity theft is on the rise and social media is the primary platform for it. With just a few details a fraudster can take your identity to commit a crime using your credentials. Keep your profile private and never give out information such as your address, social security number, or any financial details.
For those that are extra cautious, if your date arrives by car, you can search the license plate online. Depending on your state, you can learn the legal name and address of the car’s owner. With a little common sense and caution, you should be able to get more information on the person you met without exchanging too much of your own details.
“The trail of dating sites relying heavily on Facebook is littered with failures,” Sunil Nagaraj.