Online dating can be a fun adventure, and a great way for seniors to find love and friendship (I met my wife online dating). However, one of the most awful, hurtful types of scams is when a con artist feigns love or affection and attempts to steal money or property, or extravagant favors from a senior.
Seniors are advised to become informed and educated about online dating safety. Some safety guidelines are listed below. Also, adult children, friends, or family members are advised to make sure their parent, grandparent, friend, or loved one is well informed before venturing into the online dating world.
To protect themselves, their assets (and their hearts), seniors are advised to use the following guidelines when online dating:
- Before meeting for the first time, try getting as much information about the person as possible. Consider searching online for the person using first and last name, city, and state – just in case there are details about their background you would want to know that they may not be sharing on the dating site or in your initial contacts. However, Googling someone is a two-edged thing, so be sure to verify the accuracy of any questionable or red-flag type of findings with the person before deciding anything.
- Always meet in a public place for the first date, like a park, a public plaza, or a restaurant. Inform a trusted friend or family member where you’re going, when, and with whom, and check in with them at some point during the first date via text or phone call.
- Do not give out contact information until a potential dating prospect has proven themselves trustworthy. This includes email addresses and phone numbers. After someone has demonstrated they are trustworthy, only then should seniors begin giving out their contact information.
- Never give out personally identifying information to a potential dating prospect, including birth date, Social Security number, driver’s license number, or home address. This information could be used by an identity thief.
- Never send money, or agree to travel further than across town to meet for the first time. If the person is asking for money this is a red flag. Refuse to give them any money, and strongly reconsider continued association with them in any form. Be sure to inform a trusted friend or family what occurred and get their advice before any having any further contact with the other person. Contact the authorities if the person continues to ask you for money or harasses you in any form.
- Trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, or if the person crosses a line or personal boundary, stop any further contact. Block the person from making any further contact on the dating site.
- If at any time you feel unsafe, block the person from contacting you any further on the dating site. Contact authorities if the person harasses you in any form.
- Always reach out to a trusted friend or relative for help if you are being harassed online, or if you are unsure whether to trust an online dating prospect.
This post is part of the series Protecting Senior Citizens Online.
Copyright © 2019 Patrick M. Baker