Meeting people online is very common, and most often works out just fine for everyone involved. Still, there are risks associated with connecting with people over the internet.

The Risks

  • Personal safety when meeting someone in person who you met online.
  • Stalking and harassment.
  • Fraud, when people appeal to your better nature to help them out of an 'unfortunate situation' by sending money.
  • People masquerading as somebody who they are not
  • Spam, selling or fraud.

Connecting With New People Online

  • Get to know people, take your time and trust your instincts. Act with caution and learn more about someone before contacting him or her outside of SPRYT. Use the SPRYT messaging system rather than your personal email for all contacts initially.
  • Keep contact details private. Stay in control when it comes to how and when you share information. Don't include your contact information such as your email address, home address, or phone number in your profile or initial communications.
  • Stop communicating with anyone who attempts to pressure you into providing your personal or financial information or who seems to be trying to trick you into providing it. Contact SPRYT immediately if this happens
  • There is a limit to a social networks ability to check the backgrounds of users and verify the information they provide. Therefore, don't get a false sense of security because you're on a social network; do your own research to learn more about someone and make informed decisions before you decide to meet.
  • Money Requests Are Your Red Light, why would someone need to borrow money off somebody they have never met, or only just met? There is no reason for anyone to ask you for money or your financial information, whatever sad or sob story they give. Always keep your bank and account information private. Stop all contact immediately and report the matter.
  • Nobody should have to put up with offensive, insulting and threatening behaviour online. Trust your instincts and immediately stop communicating with anyone who makes you feel uncomfortable or apprehensive. Never feel embarrassed to report a problem. You are helping the site and doing other users a favour.

Play it safe when you meet face-to-face

  • Meet in public. Stay in public. The safest plan is to meet somewhere public and stay somewhere public. Make your own way there and back.
  • Get to know the person, not the profile. The way people interact online isn’t always the same face-to-face.
  • Let your friends know your plans.
  • Not going well? Make your excuses and leave.

Advice for avoiding scammers

  • Never ever respond to a request for money.
  • Never give out bank account or other details.
  • Beware of the sob story - someone telling you how much they want to visit you but need a loan to pay for the ticket/visas. Or stories about a desperately ill family member who needs help with medical expenses.
  • The same goes for fantastic too good to be true business deal they are in on – if only they had some extra up-front money.
  • Don’t let the passing of time cloud your judgment. These sorts of pitches may take time to come out in messages, time in which you may very well have come to trust and value a relationship with your online contact. That does not make them any less of a lie.
  • Our same warning goes for pleas of urgency – about money needed at short notice. Someone asking you to use a wire service to get money to them is up to no good.