Love at first click

Online dating: warning signs, red flags to watch for

By Jodi Mohrmann - Managing Editor of special projects
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TAMPA BAY, Fla. - The story behind a Florida family of four started in front of a computer several years ago.

"I was looking for someone that was intelligent, funny, and obviously the same faith. That's why I went on J-Date," said Rona Dauman, who met her husband online.

Rona and David Dauman jumped online and signed up for a dating website.  They clicked, they met, and then got married.

A recent study showed that more than one-third of new marriages start online and those couples are slightly happier.

"I think online dating is going to become more and more the way," said licensed counselor Deborah Day.  "But there's always that risk that it's not an honest profile."

Some red flags to look for are if the profile changes often, the person toots their own horn, uses vulgar words, won't meet you in public, or maybe they're already married.

"There are many married people go online. Some little hints might be: are they only available to talk during the day? Are they never available during 6 to 8:30?" Day said.

Day says when making a profile you should not put pictures of your children, give out personal emails, and after 2 to 3 weeks go ahead and meet in person.

"Nothing more than 20 to 30 minutes just to check each other out. See how it feels and you'll know right then," Day said.

Also be on the lookout for financial scams.  Financial scammers have flocked to online dating sites, and if someone you met online asks for money it should raise a red flag.  The easiest way to avoid a scam is simple: Don't give money to someone you've met online.

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