Invest in paid sites if possible. "On a lot of free sites there are no measures taken to ensure that the people who use the site are not creating multiple profiles so you could end up talking to David, Mark and Stephen. And they could all be the same person," says Maycock.
Paid sites are usually reasonably priced, says Cussen, and they help to filter out people who are not committed to a relationship – she suggests sites like eHarmony and Match.com as possible starting points for those dipping a toe in the waters of internet dating: "Match.com, for example, has a questionnaire with about 400 questions you have to fill in before you have your profile up and running.
"This takes time and is a big commitment – on some free websites you can set up a profile in five minutes.
"I also find that some of the free sites can be crude – you could even find a body part as their profile photograph – it can get very tacky," she warns.
Some tips for internet dating:
· If you get sleazy responses or notice some heavily sexual overtones do not respond to them.
· Block your number if you are calling somebody for the first time.
· Never use your last name or give out personal informal until you are ready to share information with that person – remember, the relationship is not real until you meet.
· Be aware of your personal security: "Intro.ie checks everyone's ID with a passport, driving licence.
"You won't get that with online dating sites as they tend not to have ID verification so you may not know who you're meeting," warns Maycock.
· Don't spend a long time emailing and telephoning before arranging a face-to-face meeting, advises Cussen – meet as quickly as possible to see if the chemistry is there.
· Meet in a public place and tell family and friends where you're going and who you're meeting.
· Never go home with that person after a first date.