CHICAGO TRIBUNE's RED EYE -- Oct 24 -- Here's how to stay safe when making your cyber love match:
- For first meetings, always meet in a public, populated place and don't end up at your or your date's home. Don't have your date pick you up at your home, either.
- Tell a friend or family member whom you're meeting, where you're going and when you expect to return. Bring your cell phone with you.
- Don't share your real identity or private contact information until you're comfortable with the person. Set up a third-party e-mail address you use exclusively for dating, and don't reveal your home address until you've been on a couple of dates.
- Until you've known the person for a while, don't get too drunk or leave your drink or personal belongings unattended.
SOURCE: Match.com Safety tips and Online personals industry analyst Mark Brooks
Soon, you will be able to get an anonymous phone number—a Vumber—so that you can talk to new dates without them knowing your real phone number. Calls to your Vumber will ring to whatever cell or landline you choose, but the caller will only know your Vumber. You also can make outgoing calls from the Vumber so your real phone number won't appear on someone else's Caller ID. The Web site www.vumber.com will be live in November, and the service is slated for release at the Internet Dating Convention in January.
Mark Brooks: Vumber is my client. I'm guiding their strategy, business development efforts and PR. The service will be simple, inexpensive, and designed for singles (and online personals sites).