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Given a few recent scare stories in the press we thought we would share some tips for meeting up with people that you have met online in real life. Many of these examples are specific to particular types of meeting up (dating, purchases) but many are also good advice to follow any time you are meeting with someone you don’t know well.

 

Online dating safety

Purchases

General advice

Perhaps most importantly, talk on the phone first. Not everyone enjoys phone calls, but you should have at least one or two conversations that aren’t over text-based mediums. If the person you’re talking to says they’re a 20-year-old woman, but they’re really a 45-year-old man, that will be a lot harder to hide on a phone call.

Before you head out, set up your smartphone to share your location with your friends or family. Apps like Moby can let those you trust see where you are at all times. Taking someone with you is better, particularly if you’re dealing with something like a Craigslist sale, but let’s be real. You’re not going to bring two friends on your first date with someone you met online. In that case, use the virtual buddy system to ensure someone has your back.

Lifehacker advice

Gumtree advice