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Online Dating Safety Tips

By: CBS
By: CBS

With more sex offenders using matchmaking websites to find victims, some legislators want online daters to be more aware.

Ilana Angel knows a lot about online dating. She writes a blog about it, but even she has had some bad experiences

Angel recently connected with a man on a popular website, and after days of talking online decided to meet him at a restaurant. She immediately started feeling uncomfortable.

"We were there for maybe 30 seconds, and he said that he didn't like it, he knew some place better, we should go somewhere else and we could leave my car and go in his."

Angel decided to end date right away after hearing stories about online dates gone wrong.

The internet has become a popular way to meet romantic partners, but it has also become a way for sexual predators to find victims.

In January, police arrested Wade Ridley in Las Vegas. He told detectives he stabbed a woman he met just 10 days earlier through an online dating website.

And in 2009 Jeffery Marsalis was sentenced to life in prison after sexually assaulting women he met online.

Because of cases like these some states are working on legislation that would force dating websites to make changes to help keep users safe.

Connecticut and Texas are considering bills that would require dating services to give users clear advice on how to protect themselves from violence. New York and New Jersey already have similar laws.

"Unfortunately online dating websites are often used by predators, people who misrepresent who they are in order to take advantage of people," said Rep. Mae Flexer, D-Conn.

This week one of the most popular sites, Match.com, said it will begin screening users against a national sex offender registry. The announcement came after a California woman sued the site saying she was sexually assaulted by a man she met on match.com.

Experts also warn: don't give out your address, meet in public places, stay alert and trust your instincts.


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