Dayton Daily News

Be sure to exercise caution when exploring online dating sites

- John North John North is president of the Dayton Better Business Bureau.

Valentine’s Day is just a few days away and many Americans are looking for someone to spend it with. With over 7 billion people in the world, it can be hard to find the right person. However, millions of Americans have tried to make finding someone easier by using online dating sites.

According to DatingNews. com, more than 8,000 dating sites exist worldwide and 50 million Americans have tried online dating. Most daters spend $243 each year on online dating. With so many options out there, how do you know which site will find you what you’re looking for?

Better Business Bureau offers these tips to help you find a trustworth­y dating site:

■ Decide if you are looking for casual companions­hip or a serious relationsh­ip. This may affect which dating service you choose.

■ Make a list of important qualities you are looking for. Some sites are designed to meet specific factors.

■ Ask friends and family for recommenda­tions and determine what kind of site you want to use. Large sites such as eHarmony have the most prospectiv­e matches. However, if you’re looking for something more specific you may consider a niche site, such as one focused on age, religion, politics, etc.

■ Determine if you want to pay for a site. According to a Consumer Reports survey, free dating sites score higher in user satisfacti­on than paid sites. However, becoming a member may be worth the cost for the added benefits of a premium service.

■ Try multiple sites until you find one that works. Make a list of your top choices and try each one. Some may offer trial periods.

■ Read the online reviews.

■ See if the company has a satisfacti­on guaranteed policy and understand the details of the policy.

■ Realize people are not always truthful. Some lie about age, interests, money, etc. Some even post fake pictures.

■ Beware of catfishing scams. If someone always has excuses for being unable to talk on the phone, meet up or ask for money it may be a scam.

Always be cautious when meeting someone in person you met online. When meeting a date, meet in a public place and let someone know where and who you are meeting. Never agree to meet in a private space or somewhere you do not know.

BBB is here to help as a well. Visit or call 937222-5825 or 800-776-5301 for Business Profiles on dating services. If you find yourself a victim of an online dating scam, report it to BBB’s ScamTracke­r at­r.

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