While the majority of people using the Gingerbread forum are sincere and honest in the information they provide and in their reasons for joining, there are exceptions. You need to be aware of how to keep yourself and your family safe while meeting people online.

Get to know people and take your time

Act with caution and learn more about someone before contacting or meeting them outside of the forum. Don’t fall for pleas of urgency and be wary if someone seems vague in their communication about their interests and children, or may often repeat things or seem disconnected.

Do your own research

There’s a limit to our ability to verify the information that forum users provide. Please don’t get a false sense of security because you’re using a single parent forum. Do your research to learn more about a person before you decide to provide your contact details or meet up. If you are planning to meet up, do a web search and review other information about the person online – do they have a Facebook or Linkedin profile – does it look genuine?

Do not fall for money requests

There’s no reason for you to provide someone with your bank account details or lend money. If a forum user asks for money or your bank account details stop all contact and report it to Gingerbread.

Report unacceptable or suspicious behaviour

Stop communicating with anyone who makes you feel uncomfortable and report them to Gingerbread at membership@gingerbread.org.uk

Meeting up offline safely

Don’t feel obliged to meet up with anyone. If you’ve met someone on the forum and plan to meet up, remember this person is still a stranger to you and your children. Please take precautions such as meeting in a public place and maybe taking a friend with you or telling friends or family where you are going and how long you plan to be out. Don’t feel pressured to do something or go somewhere you’re not comfortable with and avoid going to someone’s home, inviting them to yours, or accepting or giving a lift the first time you meet them. Don’t give out too many personal details when talking to someone online or when first meeting them, including your address, hometown and children’s school.

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