The risks of online relating

The internet is an informal, anonymous place to meet people. People don't know what you do or what you look like, aside from the photos you post. You can change your gender, job, sexual preferences, age, culture and interests. You are known only by what you write. And so is the other person.

Matching

You may be matched with people you don’t find compatible, or who don’t match your needs or requirements. Think about what’s really important to you in a relationship and focus on those characteristics – you have a right to be fussy, but very few people are perfect!

Be aware

There are risks involved in all relationships, though with online relationships you especially need to consider your own safety and that of your family.

There are many stories of sincere people who have trusted a stranger, believed a story of hardship or need and handed over significant sums of money. As well as the financial expense, emotional hurt and humiliation can result.

Many online relationships work out well, but most experts advise you not to send money, or buy gifts for someone you don’t know and to be cautious about your safety. Tell a friend about the person you have met online and if you are planning to meet them, do so in a public place and let your friends know where you will be and when you get home.

Helpful websites include:

www.immi.gov.au/migration-fraud/email-internet-scams.htm

www.afp.gov.au/policing/cybercrime/internet-fraud-and-scams.aspx

www.scamwatch.gov.au

www.staysmartonline.gov.au/home_users/protect_yourself2/avoiding_scams_and_hoaxes

Relationships Australia State and Territory websites

The views or opinions expressed in this information are general in nature and do not constitute professional advice. You may benefit from professional help to deal with individual and complex issues.