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Special Report: Dating At Your Fingertips

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(KYTX) - We live in a world where technology has changed the way we do just about everything,  including the way we get to know people.

Melissa Daigle shows us how social media is influencing dating in the 21st century......

We used to get to know people face to face, then came social media and dating websites. But today, technology has taken that a step further. We can now meet people in the palm of our hands.

According to a recent study, mobile dating is now more popular than dating websites. Dating apps are paving the way for successful relationships across the country and right here in East Texas.

But be warned, when you increase your use of technology, you could be increasing your risk of danger.

"I can talk to him about anything. And, that was what I was looking for, is a best friend."

Meet Heather McDonald and Alan Burk. They're happily engaged now, but there was a time when they were single parents struggling to find love again.

"Men don't approach a whole lot of women running around with two kids behind them." says McDonald. 

As busy parents in their early 30s, they say they didn't have time to date.

"You just want to find somebody who's ready to settle it down." says Burk.

Wanting to cut to the chase, they decided to give mobile dating a shot.

They found each other through "Plenty of Fish," one of the countless dating apps available these days.

"It was a lot easier on Plenty of Fish. I mean, it showed the people in my area. I could look and see their 'about me.' it showed what we had in common."

By answering a series of personal questions and using GPS technology, mobile apps like "Plenty of Fish" match you with other people in your area.

"And, his 'about me' just blew me away because the first thing he said was 'I have three kids and they're the glue that holds this guy together.' And, I was like, that's the kind of guy I want to get to know!"

The couple says the app made it easy for them to get to know each other because it was literally always on hand.

"I could be in a restaurant with friends and be going through the dating app."

The app lead to a face-to-face meeting, and the rest is history.

"It was love at first sight?"

"Yeah, basically, yeah."

"I'm getting a little teary-eyed."

And, their success is catching on.

"I have a lot of friends who are using it now just because of me and him."

Research shows the mobile dating market is expected to be worth $2.3 billion by 2016.

Unfortunately, not everyone using these apps is looking for love.

"This is one of those places they can find a victim."

Mechele Mills with the Better Business Bureau of Central East Texas says it's important to limit the amount of information you share on these dating apps.

"One in ten profiles are actually scammers out there trying to get your money."

Or worse...

"The danger is not just financial, it's also physical."

That's why Mills says you should protect yourself and your money by keeping your dating profile as private as possible. She also recommends discontinuing communication if someone makes you feel uncomfortable. McDonald agrees.

"If you're going to go meet on the first date, go meet in a public place. Don't tell them to come to your house. Don't give them your address. Don't go to their house."

McDonald and Burk say by playing it safe, they found success.

"One day at a time. There have been better days and there have been worse days. But, more good than bad."

"He's it. He is my best friend."

"Can I have a kiss?"

*kiss*

McDonald and Burk say they took down their dating app profiles after finding each other.

They're still working on setting a wedding date.

Some more advice from Mills- if you're using a dating app, install a dating safety app, too. Apps like D8mate, Safety Siren, and Blue Light are designed to alert friends or family if you don't arrive at a certain destination when you say you're going to.

Mills also says it's a red flag when somebody professes their love online or through an app within the first 24 hours of meeting you.

You should also be concerned if they say they're a U.S. citizen, but live overseas.

Remember to remain as private as possible and never send money to someone you don't know.

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