Online Dating used correctly is a safe and secure experience. Please read our safety tips and suggestions
In today's busy world, people from all walks of life recognise the clear advantages Internet Dating can provide (in fact NZDating has provided many thousands of relationships and even marriages!), however just as in the 'offline' world there are certain precautions that should be taken when dealing with people that are not known well to you.
Use Common Sense
While the vast majority of people using Internet services such as NZDating are normal and law-abiding; (in fact statistics tell us that these users are often highly educated, white-collar workers that earn above average incomes), unfortunately the Internet - just like the 'offline' world does have its share of unscrupulous users lurking in dark corners waiting to take advantage of trusting or naive people.
Our best advice is to use common sense as you would everywhere else. Don't be overly paranoid but always stay alert. If something or someone sounds too good to be true then they probably are. Remember your safety is far more important than one person's opinion of you.
Protect your Personal Information
Always protect your personal information. Nobody needs to know your real name, phone number, home address, workplace, email address or any other personal information that could be used to identify you until you are comfortable to share this information. NZDating provides an internal email/message system specifically for you to remain protected while giving you the ability to communicate with other users to learn more about them before deciding on whether or not to take the relationship further by sharing email addresses or phone numbers.
Communicate using NZDating
If you have no reason to take a conversation outside of NZDating you are best to communicate using the NZDating systems. In extreme cases messages sent using NZDating systems can be traced and appropriate action taken, whereas external mail services may not be possible to validate and may fall outside of the NZ legal system. In addition giving out your personal external email address may reveal a lot more personal information than you realise. Often people don't realise that the simple case of giving out a free email address (such as Hotmail or Yahoo) - can ultimately reveal your phone number and address to a skilled computer operator (and that's even if you never submitted this information to the email service!)
Be Honest and Expect Honesty
Always be honest. While you should not provide your real name or other identifiable information, don't mislead other members about other aspects of your life or on what you expect in a relationship. Remember that there are real people at the other end of the computer connections, and just like the offline world, lying or otherwise misleading people may result in hurt or angry feelings.
You should also watch carefully for other members being dishonest. Make sure that they provide consistent age, interests, employment and marital status. Be aware that indirect answers to direct questions may indicate dishonesty.
Don't be afraid to ask lots of questions. NZDating keeps profiles brief, allowing a great deal of scope in asking lots of basic questions. Repeating portions of questions or re-asking questions already covered in their profile will help you detect liars and cons, while helping you work out if you are compatible.
Don't reply to rude or abusive messages, the best action for such abuse is to block the user so that they are unable to contact you again. In addition NZDating allows you to automatically block members who have been blocked by a specified number of other members, so your action in blocking someone helps other members avoid that person too. Blocking a person effectively adds your vote that they are not worth talking to. If you think that members you have blocked have signed up under another address to abuse you please let us know.
Watch for Warning Signs
Watch for warning signs by paying attention to any displays of anger, excessive frustration, or attempts to pressure or control you. Members acting in a passive-aggressive manner, making demeaning or insulting comments may be exhibiting warning signs. Often letting a friend read over your messages is a good idea as they may spot warning signs you have missed. Equally true in a bar or nightclub, don't believe everything you read or hear online, as people can pretend to be anything they wish.
Trust your instincts, watch for scams
Pay attention to language
Many scammers are from West Africa, Asia or Eastern Europe. If they claim to be from a English speaking country but use bad grammar, spelling, or do not know local slang (eg their command of English is lacking) this is sign to stay away. If their language doesn't sound right to you, trust your instincts.
Communicate through NZDating
Be suspicious if someone quickly askes to communicate through external email or an app (such as WhatsApp, Kik or Viber ). This is a sign a) They know NZDating has systems in place to identify and take action against scammers. b) They know they will be soon removed from NZDating. NZDating’s mail and chat system allow you to communicate without the need for external services.
Be wary of ‘Sob’ stories
Don’t fall for a sad story. Many scammers claim to have lost a relative in an accident or have a sick relative. Another common ploy is for them to be at the airport on the way to visit you, but his credit card has been declined or their travel documents are stolen or lost.
Be wary of Overseas Military and professional looking photos
Scammers typically create fake online profiles designed to lure you in. They may falsely take on the identities of real, trusted people such as military personnel, aid workers or professionals from a western country - travelling or working overseas. To entice men, scammers may use photos of attractive young women including models and adult-film personalities.
Requests for Money or Bank Transfers
Never, ever transfer money to a anyone's bank account or arrange any form of payment using other methods.
Requests for personal information
Don't share personal information such as your address or date of birth, be vigilant about users who ask you to leave the site and/or request any of personal contact details or email address.
Excessive admiration or attention
Scammers may express strong emotions for you in a relatively short period of time, and may go to great lengths to gain your interest and trust, such as showering you with loving words, sharing ‘personal information’ and even sending you gifts. They may take months to build what may feel like the romance of a lifetime and may even pretend to book flights to visit you, but never actually come. Once they have gained your trust and your defences are down, they will ask you (either subtly or directly) for money, gifts or your banking/credit card details. They may also ask you to send pictures or videos of yourself.
After gaining trust scammers may pretend to need money for some sort of personal emergency. For example, they may claim to have a severely ill family member who requires immediate medical attention such as an expensive operation, or they may claim financial hardship due to an unfortunate run of bad luck such as a failed business or mugging in the street. They may also say they want to travel to visit you, but cannot afford it unless you are able to lend them money to cover flights or other travel expenses.
If you become aware of any dubious activity... ...report it using the 'report misuse' link If you lose money, report to police!
Taking your relationship further
Take it slow, friendships and relationships take time to develop, and NZDating is the perfect vehicle to stay anonymous and learn a lot about people before meeting them. Rushing the online portion of the relationship increases the risks that you don't know enough about the person and their moods. Earn each other's trust before taking it to the next level.
Requesting a second photo with different surroundings will give you a better feeling for the member and should prevent fake photos being used. The ability to scan photos is very common nowadays so any excuses of not providing photos may signal that they have something to hide.
Talking on the Phone
Wait until you are very comfortable with the other person before deciding to speak to each other on the phone. If they suggest it, take their number so you can make the call only when you are ready. In today's world even making a call can reveal your phone number (with caller ID). If you are still not 100% sure you may want to disable caller ID or use a public phone when calling.
Remember to listen to the person that answers and any background noise, always making sure they match what you already know about this person.
Meeting in Person
When you finally decide to meet, be sure to let your family or friends know where you are going and when you expect to return. Its always good to contact your family of friends before, during and after the meeting, so that they know you are alright, having to make contact with someone else also lets the person you are meeting know that you have friends looking out for you. It's always good to take a cell phone, that way you can arrange for your friends or family to call and check on you, rather than having to call someone yourself.
It's always best to meet in a public location with plenty of people around - restaurants and coffee shops are a good starting place. You should avoid meeting at a private home until you get to know the person well in a face to face environment.
If you are unsure of the meeting, going as part of a double date or arranging to meet the person with a friend provides an extra level of safety. Remember to let the person know beforehand and give them the option of bringing a friend.
If the person you are meeting is in another town or city, it may be better to meet in a city in between to reduce the hometown factor. If you must meet them in their city, choose a popular public location and arrange your own transport both there and back. Never give out details of where you are staying until you are sure of the person.
Never rely on the person you are meeting to get you home, if you do not take your own car be sure to take enough money to arrange your own transport.
If you decide to meet further, good signs are that they match their online persona, and introduce you to their friends, associates or family.
If you feel serious about a relationship, but are still unsure, you could both agree on a background check, these are generally provided by companies such as private investigators and would require certain details such as full name and date of birth for them to do the job. Please check your local phone book for such services.
If you feel in danger
Report any attacks or physical threats to the Police. If the event took place using NZDating systems NZDating can help the Police by providing logs that may have recorded the event and can tell the Police which ISP the member uses. If the Police feel there is a real threat and the issue is serious enough they can obtain a court order which will allow the ISP to reveal the owner of the Internet account. Don't be embarrassed to contact the Police for advice if you feel you are in any danger, remember your safety should always come first.