Friday, February 25, 2011

Connecticut, USA Says Online Dating is Dangerous

Anyone looking for love online knows that the person on the other end of an online connection might not be who he or she says they are.

In Connecticut, this is becoming a political issue.

While most of the 20 million people who use online dating services are looking for a relationship, there are other cases where women have been sexual assaulted or scammed.

It is to prevent this that State Rep. Mae Flexer, a Democrat representing Killingly, Plainfield and Sterling [counties], introduced her bill.

“Sexual predators now have a new tool to find victims — internet dating websites,” Flexer told the General Law Committee on Tuesday. “We have a responsibility as lawmakers to amend our laws to reflect technological changes and protect our citizens.”

Flexer’s bill that would require online dating sites that charge fees to provide safety tips and advice to make dating, online and off, safer.

“Currently, one in five Connecticut residents has experienced sexual assault. My bill is a sensible solution to inform potential customers of the risks involved with using these sites and help protect women,” Flexer said.

She is asking for advice including:
  • Don't put your last name, e-mail address, home address, phone number, place of work, photo or any other identifying information in your Internet [Facebook] profile or initial e-mail messages.
  • If someone pressures you for personal or financial information or attempts in any way to trick you into revealing it, end the communication.
  • When you plan to meet face-to-face, always tell someone in your family or a friend where you are going and when you will return.
  • Never agree to be picked up at your home. Always provide your own transportation to and from your date and meet in a public place with several people around.

Flexer’s bill, if approved, Connecticut would become the third state to regulate internet dating sites, after New York and New Jersey.

The General Law Committee will vote on the bill in the coming weeks.

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