Updated: September 12, 2011
As we say again and again: customer satisfaction is our most important goal. We are a prestigious service whose main marketing strategy is member referrals, so happy customers are our greatest asset. You've probably heard about scams, shams, and even crimes being committed by unsavory individuals on dating websites. As an exclusive, invite-only community, we do our best to minimize this threat and respond immediately to any customer complaints. However, the best defense against falling victim is to use common sense - there is no substitute for acting with caution. At the end of the day, DATING SHOULD BE FUN! Here are some simple tips we've gathered to help you stay safe while you're having a great time:
Making Your Profile
When you create your profile, you should understand that your information is being shared with other users (See Privacy Statement for more detail). We advise you to AVOID any personal information in your profile. Here are some specific things to avoid:
- Your physical address (or building name)
- Your telephone number (work, personal, or otherwise)
- Your e-mail
- Links to your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn account
- Your full first and last name
- Your daily routine (i.e., every day at 7:15 AM I go to the Starbucks on the corner of...)
Connecting With Other People
Meeting new people is exciting! And we totally encourage you to reach out to our top notch members and make new relationships. However, here are a few things to keep in mind:
PLEASE do not fall victim to fraud! NEVER send money, give your credit card number, share your bank account number, or share sensitive information like a driver's license or a social security numbers! No matter how genuine the person's story sounds, no good candidate for a date would ask you for money over the internet!If you even slightly suspect that a member is trying to scam you, PLEASE let us know about it so we can remove him/her from the site and punish him or her to the full extent of the law.
- Sorry for that rant, we just really hate scammers. Let's continue:
- Avoid sharing all those things we mentioned up top in "Making Your Profile" until you have developed a reasonable level of trust.
- We strongly recommend that you only interact with people in your city. Long-distance online dating is just begging for trouble.
- Block abusive users, users who make you feel uncomfortable in any way, or those who you feel are violating our Terms of Service Agreement. You can "Block" a user by going to his or her profile and clicking "Block." You may also contact us directly by phone or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Taking it Offline
Nearly all of these safety tips would apply to any first date, whether you met the person on Sparkology, at a bar, or through a friend.
- Use the time to check out each other's ID's. It's a fun way to laugh about how you looked when your ID photo was taken, AND verify the person's identity :)
- Take your own transportation – do not let your date pick you up and drop you off on the first date
- Meet in a public place in a busy part of town
- Meet at a reasonable hour when there will be many people around
- If you end up at a bar, watch your drink to make sure your date doesn't put anything in it; oh, and remember to stay sober until you're comfortable with the person
- Tell a friend or family member that you are going on a date and tell him or her where you're going