And it's important that the level of vigilance reflects the risks of the situation. Casual meeting with a mutual acquaintance? Leave them their privacy. misadventures on match.com? Well...
Suffice it to say that my first experience with online dating was a bust.. My second experience was with a girl who had a very attractive picture but was quite coy about personal details. Which made it a challenge.
She didn't realize that calling from her father's land line gave me her last name. her email address gave me the school she was currently going to. First name, last name, local papers to scan gave me the revelation that she wasn't taking the year off to do an internship, she'd been put on academic probation for a year for,
i shit you not,
carving up her own neck with an X-Acto knife to give credo to the false rape charges she leveled against a crush who didn't want to date her.
Not something that was likely to come up in casual discussion, but certainly something I was glad to know. I had the aforementioned Cosmic Bargain, though, so I went on the date.
(a very well-documented date)
Long story short - pictures were from high school, girl was from Hoth, ended up with the ugliest girl at the Spaghetti Factory talking about Ren Fair. Never even had to throw the "yeah, don't want to date you because of the rapey knifey thing" was able to leave it at "yeah, not giving you a ride to Renfair in Tukwila tomorrow. Or ever."
Would I have had to disclose the fact that I'd stalked her secret at some point? Sure. And back when she was an attractive abstraction, I was quite conflicted about it. But since it never got that far, the faux pas was never practically committed.