Sex Offender Checks Won’t Stop Assaults has begun screening for users whose names appear on public sex offender registries. As I told the E-Commerce Times, “Doing nothing is a poor option. Also, consider that not every sex offender is tech-savvy, and some will get banned.”

My first passion has always been personal security as it relates to violence prevention. I got into this business 20 years ago as a result of violence in my own life, and began to write, speak and train in self-defense. Things are no different today, except that there are now many more ways for bad guys to ensnare their victims.

Studies show online dating and matchmaking services are growing, even in a recession. Many single men and women are signing up and attending speed-dating sessions than ever before. There are a couple of reasons for the increase in online dating’s popularity. First, it is cheaper to join a service than to spend money on countless bad blind dates. Second, in turbulent times, people want the comfort of a romantic partner. Having a companion to share in the fear, uncertainty, and doubt can help people vent and find relief.

Protect yourself from online dating scams and risks.

1. Educate yourself about self-defense techniques and personal security. Watch instructional videos or take a course. The single most effective self-defense offering on the planet is a program called “Impact Model Mugging,” which you can find nearby with an online search. Taking this course is worthwhile, even if you have to drive 500 miles, and bring your children. In this case, knowledge certainly is power.

2. You’ve probably heard this advice before but it merits repeating. Drive yourself to meet your date in a public, populated location, and continue to do this for the first several dates. Get to know the energy of your potential mate, learn what makes them tick, before offering your trust. Be alert for unhealthy behaviors. If they are easily irritated or make offensive jokes, move on.

3. Do not drink alcohol when meeting someone from the Internet, even with a meal. Alcohol lowers inhibitions and leads us to accept inappropriate behavior. Don’t accept drinks from anyone unless you see the drink being poured and it goes straight to your hands. Slipping drugs in drinks happens every day.

4. Be direct about splitting the bill for dinner. While this may seem extreme to some, studies show that a large percentage of men still feel that after buying a woman dinner, she “owes” him sex.

5. Get information about your date. Ask all the questions: name, address, previous address, home phone number, cell phone, place of birth, birth date, workplace, license plate, and if you can squeeze it out of them, I kid you not, get their Social Security number.

6. Do your own sex offender checks. Do background checks, Use Google and Facebook. Vet your potential mate thoroughly, since determining who you might marry is about as important as any life decision can be.

Online dating services must also take on a certain level of responsibility for members’ personal security. One option is to take advantage of new technologies such as device reputation management, which identifies user devices and analyzes their history, allowing websites to ban users whose device history indicates that they pose a threat to other users.

Robert Siciliano, personal security and identity theft expert contributor to iovation, discusses dating security on E! True Hollywood Story. (Disclosures) Screening For Sex Offenders a Partial Solution

Dating website is being sued by a woman who was raped after meeting with a man through In response, the website has initiated a system to vet out sex offenders by checking registered users against sex offender registries.

Will this prevent sex offenders creating profiles? No. Will this prevent sex offenders from raping women they meet on the site? Of course not.

Is it necessary for to seek out and remove sex offenders? Of course it is. Even though there may be some false positives, even though it’s an imperfect system, it adds a layer of protection that will certainly vet out a bad apple or two, or thousands.

When someone subscribes to a dating site and begins the search for a mate, there is an implied assumption that has somehow validated other users. While that is definitely not the case, the reality is that new users are approved based on having a working credit card.

Going forward, sex offender registry checks will help, but anyone who meets dates online needs to realize that they are essentially on their own, and that no website can be with you on a date, protecting you from a sex offender.

Dating websites can try to prevent sex offenders from reregistering by recognizing and banning the email addresses or credit cards of unwanted users, but these are imperfect and less than effective security measures.

Dating websites could incorporate another layer of protection, such as vetting the computer used to create the profile in the first place. Device reputation management spots online evildoers in a fraction of a second, by examining the computer, smartphone, or tablet used to connect to the dating website or social network. If a device is associated with unwanted behavior, such as spam, online scams, fake profiles, bullying, or predatory behavior from a previous ban, the website can reject the new account or transaction.

Arguably, dating sites should not have to do any of this, but implementing new layers of security is the appropriate response to an unfortunate tragedy. Let’s hope dating sites get better at policing their members.

Robert Siciliano, personal security and identity theft expert contributor to iovation, discusses dating security on The Tyra Show. (Disclosures)

Security Increases After Grad Student Attack Off Campus

Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert

I see headlines like this every day. “Security increases” because we wait until something bad happens until we do something about it. How about we increase security right now because there is a small chance something bad can happen? Like the Boy Scouts, “Be Prepared.

Some time ago a home invasion in Connecticut took the lives of a mother and her two daughters while the Doctor father was tied up in the basement. Bad things happened to the women and the home was eventually set ablaze. This is the single worst home invasion I’ve ever seen. The case is in the courts now. This is a perfect example of what “Predators” are.

There always has been, is, and always will be predators stalking their prey. Unfortunately, this is the natural order of life. Predators are a part of many of life’s species. Growing up my dad sat me in front of the TV and made me watch documentaries on animal behavior.

“In the animal world”, he pointed out, and then he specifically pointed towards the lion and said “there are predators and their natural prey”. The lion hunts and stalks other animals and kills, then eats them. He explained that it’s normal for the lion to kill, its OK, it might not be nice of the lion, but that’s just the way it is.

He went on to say that in the human world, it’s the exact same thing. That there are human beings that act exactly as the lion, and its normal. Its not OK, its not nice, but that’s just the way it is. Lots to digest when you are 12. The fact is dad was right.

Some may know the story of the “Frog and the Scorpion.” Scorpion asks a frog to take him across the river on his back. Frogs like, no way dude you’ll kill me. Scorpion says “hey man, I won’t kill you, if I did I’d drown too” Frogs like, “OK man, sounds reasonable, lets do it”. Frog gets halfway across the river and the scorpion stings him! Surprised, the frog asks why, because now they will both drown, scorpions says, “Stupid frog, I’m a scorpion, its what we do. Predators are predators by nature.

There are over 500,000 registered sex offenders in the US. There are thousands more that aren’t registered and many more that simply haven’t been caught.

It’s unfortunate they can’t just be kept in jail. But this is the land of the free and the brave and we have rights. Even the child molesters have rights.

So here’s the deal. If you live in a house (which most of us do), chances are there are sex offenders near where you live and work. Its not enough to know that there are bad guys out there looking for their next victims. It’s important to do something about it. Take a self defense class, bone up on your eye gouging, and teach those you love how to protect themselves. Remember, once a scorpion, always a scorpion.

Robert Siciliano personal security expert to Home Security Source discussing Predators on the Gayle King Show