'Meeting' people online is very different than meeting people in a bar, or at other social events. As one web site says in the introduction to its guidelines 'There are many success stories, so don't be too despondent if you have to kiss a few frogs.
Often what you think someone is like before you meet them in real life, or how they have described themselves, turns out to be very different to how you 'really' experience them.
And just as there are a number of people in a bar you wouldn't think of inviting home - so 'online' communities are made up of diverse and different people, not all of whom are honest.
Don't freely give out or distribute your home or mobile phone number or your primary email account... and remember that in Australia, if you make a call to a mobile phone, your own number will often be displayed.
When meeting for the first time, arrange to meet in a busy public place like a bar or a club, or a coffee shop. You can always go somewhere more private later when you are sure you can trust them. Do not rely on the other person for transport - then you can leave whenever you want.Let someone know who you are meeting and where. You can leave a note, keep a diary, e-mail a friend, or ask someone to phone you on your mobile (if you have one) to make sure you are all right.
Apply your common sense and the basic rules of personal safety. Maintain a healthy degree of suspicion: if anything seems odd, be careful.
Trust your instincts. If you feel unsure about a situation, excuse yourself and leave immediately.
If you plan to meet a stranger for sex, be safe and take condoms and water-based lubricant with you in case you need them.
Don't feel compelled or pressured to do anything you don't want to. Should things get out of hand don't hesitate to report it to the police or to gay and lesbian legal organisations - they'll be more understanding than you think - or if you are not confident doing that seek advice from a local gay organisation.