Safe online dating: How to check up on someone

Take these tips to stay safe if you're looking for love on the net

Four Ways To Investigate Your Valentine That You Met Online

Thinking of trying online dating? If you're using social media to find your dream date, you don't need us to point out that there are many pitfalls.

Maria Coder, author of InvestiDate: How to Investigate Your Date has some tips for dating online, and for protecting yourself in a virtual world where anyone can claim to be anything with little or no verification.

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To help guide you through the curious maze of online cupid services, Coder has amassed a list of social media 'red flags'.

Here are four common red flags when online dating

Their photo looks suspicious: Does it seem too good to be true? It's not uncommon for people to post photos of someone else. Dating safety expert Maria Coder says it's worth doing a Google reverse image search to see if the image has been used elsewhere.

They are too eager to move the conversation offline: Coder calls these people 'race car lovers'. If you're messaging someone who's keen to push you to communicate in other ways, it could be a bad sign. Dating is about getting to know someone, and it's important not to be rushed into the next stage before you're ready. If you feel like things are going fast online, Coder suggests creating an email account just for online dating so that you can remain anonymous.

They say things that don't add up: Do you get the feeling they might be hiding something from their past? Some sites can scope out address history. It's a good idea to check your local sex offender's register. If you're really unsure, try calling their work office voicemail out of hours.

They say they're going to be out of town for a long time: Don't wire them money if they ask you. There are plenty of people out there ready to scam you, Maria warns.

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