Just as in most all other aspects of life, there are persons who will use the Internet as a means to pursue criminal enterprise, some of which may be personally hazardous to other users. Our purpose in presenting this information is to make users aware of the possibility of criminal application and to foster the same type of healthy caution which we encourage all citizens to observe in their daily lives.
The Internet is a tool through which people otherwise great distances and widely diverse cultures may communicate with convenience. "Meeting" people on the Internet as correspondents is very easy; discerning any real information about these new acquaintances is more difficult.
Whether you are meeting people through HTML/VRML links, MOO/MUSH/MUD sites, commercial dial-up services, commercial or free chat lines, Internet Relay Chat (IRC) channels, Online dating services, newsgroups, or in other ways, you should always be aware of the possibly potential dangers of interaction when it turns in a personal direction.
Depending on the method in which you connect, your communication with a perfectly legitimate person may be seen or intercepted by a third party with much different motives.
Practice safe net; if you would use or require your partner to use protection during sex, is it not similarly prudent to insist that someone you have met on the net provide a dependable means for reference-checking before you consider meeting in person?
Predators on the Internet thrive on the anonymity of the interface. Find a way to positively identify your potential romantic partner before you allow a meeting. Where do they work? Can you call them at work? Where do they live and what is their telephone number?
Limit meeting to public places until you are comfortable with the other person and certain of who they are and what they want from the relationship.
The Internet is very much like your community; the majority of the population are good people who do their best to obey the rules and behave responsibly. But, also very much as in your community there are potential offenders mixed in the population. Observe the same precautions on the net you do in everyday life; be aware of the possibilities , and take appropriate steps to avoid situations you know are dangerous.
The information on this page, in whole or in part, was developed by the University of Oklahoma Police Department (OUPD). They have generously allowed our department to use this information.