My experiences have been positive. I met my late husband online. The funny thing is that we emailed back and forth for six months before I discovered he was someone I had a crush on in high school. We both had moved to a different state. He had given me his phone number but I never called because of not wanting the number traced. Then one day he signed the email with his real name and needless to say I called. We had six beautiful years together before he died.
I also met my current boyfriend online and we have been happy for four years now. I would never give out any personal information including my real name. Maybe I'm paranoid but in my younger years I had a date who I didn't feel comfortable about follow me home. Because I used a fake name when I met him he couldn't find where I lived in the apartment complex. Not soon after he was arrested for raping young women.
My advice when you do decide to meet is to meet in a public place and do not go straight home when you leave. Have a full tank of gas so you can drive around in circles if need be for a few hours. Be aware of the vehicles behind you and beside you when you drive home just in case he/she is tailing you. If you can rent or borrow a car there is less chance he/she can find out where you live from the license plate. Let someone know where you are meeting. When I met someone for the first time I would make pre-arrangements for my son to call me in their presence. Then I would tell my son I would call him back at a certain time. My son knew if he didn't hear from me to call the authorities.
Pay attention to any red flags that may pop up and do use common sense. Many abusers and users are very charming so let your head and not your heart rule. Definitely if anyone asks for money run the other way.
Be safe but don't give up on dating online or off because of a few perverts out there.