Connecting virtually has risks, but it can be a fun and low-pressure way to meet potential matches if you practice caution. There are dozens of online dating websites and apps that target college students, so take note even if you live in a safe location.

Here are five tips for how you can have a safe online dating experience. : You can often depend on larger, more reputable sites — like Tinder, JDate, Christian Mingle, Ok Cupid, and — to protect your private information.

The Federal Trade Commission encourages anyone involved in a relationship scam to also contact its Complaint Assistant, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center and your state Attorney General.

Perhaps their dating profile image is the same as their Twitter profile picture — people tend to be much less filtered on social media sites like Twitter, and you could discover some unsavory personality traits.

You may also find out whether or not they are using a fake photo of a model or celebrity.

Never meet at your home or office where they could easily find you again, and never choose a secluded location — recommends you immediately end the date if your date pressures you to do otherwise.

Before you leave to meet a virtual date, tell a roommate or friend who you are meeting, where you are going, and what time you plan to be home.

You’ll find new people you’d never have the opportunity to meet, and you may end up like the 5% of Americans whose long-term committed relationships began online.

Online dating is continuing to grow in popularity and constantly evolve.Respected dating sites will encourage users to report any shady activity.These sites do not tolerate behavior that is aggressive or illegal.Any potential dates will likely run your name through a detailed Internet search.They may find your office location on Linked In, your address tagged in an Instagram post, or your phone number linked to a Craigslist ad.In previous years, websites like e Harmony, Match.com, and Plenty of Fish, dominated the online dating scene.