Jennifer Gage, who works at the Cedar Rapids Relationship Center, told KCRG-TV that online dating can be a great tool for meeting people, but there’s no substitute for meeting face to face.
“Talk to the person, get to know them a little bit, but then meet in person,” Gage said. The FBI recently reported, in 2016, the agency received more than 15,000 reports linked to romance scams – with online criminals stealing more than $230 million dollars from unsuspecting victims.
“We hear all the horror stories of people who aren’t always truthful online and so by meeting in person you get to see this person in front of you,” Gage said. Dating websites can help give people confidence online that they may not have in large public settings, according to Gage. She advises clients, when they’re meeting an online date for the first time, to take a friend and meet in a public place at a busier time. In addition, she warns people to never go to someone’s house they don’t know and they shouldn’t give that person their home address.