Investidate: When online dating goes wrong - KATV - Breaking News, Weather and Razorback Sports

Investidate: When online dating goes wrong

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It started out as a last resort for people in search of a companion but now online dating has become a go to option for today's singles. But finding "the one" on the Internet has its dangers too.

"Online dating really has been a blooper," said Meredith Coleman, an online dater.

Bad dates--It's the price over forty million Americans looking for love or just fun are willing to pay for the convenience of online dating.

"Just casual dating nothing serious, no strings attached," said Coleman.

Meridith preferred website is Plentyoffish.com. And, well, she's had plenty of unpleasant surprises.

"And took him to the Buffalo Grille so you know I only had like guacamole but at the end of the date he was like are you going to put something on your tab," said Coleman.

And while a cheap date is not the most ideal kind, it could be worse.

"It's not been very good we've found on several occasions that the person that they were really talking to is not the description of the person," said Private Investigator, Keith Rounsavall.

And by description it's not just physical. No, it's been things that are much harder to ignore. Twenty-eight percent of online daters reported being contacted by a married person.

"They're not who they say they are. They're married and don't want you to discover they're in a relationship," said Rounsavall.

But finding out the person you've been talking to is married or has kids you never knew about is just one of cons of online dating. But there are other risks one takes besides emotional ones. Your match might have a criminal record.

They could be a serial killer, they could be a stalker," said Coleman.

But with over 280,000 dates ending in marriage there are fairy tale endings in some cases.

"It works sometimes, I have a daughter who met her current husband in an online opportunity. Been her husband now for four, five years and really a good person," said Rounsavall.

So, if you're looking to date online and want to get through the bad apples and meet the one, there are some things you can do to save yourself some time.

"Take it slow, don't get in a hurry, don't be overly excited about it, get to know the person a little bit about the person before you dive in 100 percent," said Rounsavall.

Other safety tips are:

-When you do meet do it in a public place

-Don't hesitate to run a background check on him or her

-Pay attention to any red flags

But in the end some online daters admit whether it's for the long haul or a one time thing it's just a modern way to have a good time.

"Really to me this is just fun and games you only live once so you know you only live once," said Coleman.

In spite of some of these risks, online dating has grown rapidly in the last decade. There are over 800 dating sites with eHarmony and Match.com being the most popular.