FINDING Ms, Mrs or Mr Right has rarely been easy. Most of us will recall disastrous blind dates, when we were stood up or worse still set up with someone who left us counting the minutes until we were on the bus home.

Online dating apps have transformed many of the rules around courting. No longer do you need to spend ages trying to woo a potential mate – now you can swipe your finger across a screen, and lo and behold you have a date.

So much has changed but in many ways it is the same as it has always been. Entering the world of dating has always involved taking a step into the unknown, which is part of the thrill. What has changed are that the risks involved have heightened considerably.

Loading article content

Like so much interaction on the internet, dating is open to charlatans who claim to be one thing but are in fact up to no good.

An investigation by the Echo has cast a light onto the murky world of modern dating where fraudsters and rapists lurk alongside genuine lonely hearts in search of love or a good time.

The vast majority of people using dating sites are sincere and honest in the information they provide. However, there are exceptions, and you need to be aware of how to keep yourself, and your bank account, protected while meeting people online.

There are many rules to follow, from arranging first dates in the daytime and meeting in a neutral meeting place, to telling friends and family who you’re meeting and where you are planning to go.

One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is that if someone is too good to be true then the chances are they are not what they seem and you are better off staying safe and single for a while longer.