There are serious pitfalls to avoid, of course: dodgy sites, "catfishing" and, worst of all, online predators.

But despite the risks, online dating Online dating sites are databases that can match you to a partner with the qualities you prefer.

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A typical scam might be similar to a Nigerian con: Somebody needs money to, say, import a large inheritance, and if you can just help them out, they'll pay you back,. A potential partner that seems too good to be true probably is.

On top of the many links you've seen so far, there's more! It's a very, very deep topic and we've left out huge swaths like speed dating, virtual dating, dating assistants and others we haven't even thought of.

Try to focus on the other person and not talk about yourself too much. As recounted by , certain dates can go sideways, but at least you can laugh about them later.

Our Managing Editor Dana Wollman recalls meeting several nerdy dates online who, upon learning her job, proceeded to talk all evening about gadgets. When you work in tech all day, it's the last thing you want to discuss. However, there are plenty of deranged individuals out there who look at dating sites and see a trove of potential victims.

Avoid negative comments, especially about previous relationships.

Finally, ask friends to read your profile, since they might know certain things about you better than you do.They're ranked not only by size and type (romantic, friendly and sexual) but also reputation, as determined by rate "poor" and "very poor" in reputation, respectively.Such sites have been accused of billing customers after they've canceled, inflating user figures with numerous fake profiles and rampant prostitution.On the downside, the site -- which started as a Christian network -- targets primarily heterosexual couples.It only started allowing gay and lesbian users in 2010 after it was forced to by a lawsuit., it's better at filtering out unsuitable partners than making proactive matches.Once you're ready to contact someone, adds that it's best to keep messages cool and casual. You'll have to give a lot of frogs the ol' cheek turn.