Online dating sites are two very different animals depending on if you are a man or a woman: if you are a man, it can be a deep and impenetrable forest where your wits and wallet will be tested; if you're a woman, it is a free, come-as-you-are-but-feel-free-to-lie-about-what-you're-wearing utopia for the ego, despite all the creeps. Many online dating sites have a simple policy: women get in free. This policy works on the same logic as "Ladies night" at your local pub-online dating sites have done the math (they didn't have to do much) to figure out men follow women. When you're new to an online dating site, you are able to browse through other users' profiles without entering in any information about yourself; however, the sites usually require you to buy a membership if you find someone you'd like to make contact with.
Whether man or woman, everyone who signs up for an online dating site must be careful. The real risk of being tied up, shoved into a trunk and waking up in Madagascar exists should you decide to meet someone from one of these sites. But, like hitchhiking, the odds of someone being a murderer or kidnapper are negligibly low. The far more real danger is when the online dating sites themselves do not protect your privacy through security holes. Some online dating sites have been hacked and had their customers' credit card numbers stolen.
When approaching the dating scene online, think long and hard before going to meet someone. If you decide that you will, then plan to meet somewhere in public. Also be discriminating about what information you allow to go on the web, and to which website. Deal only with popular, well-respect online dating sites. Otherwise, someone might show up at your house, or strange payments may show up on your Visa.