How to avoid scams when dating seniors online


If you’re looking to meet new people and start a relationship during your retirement, there are plenty of online dating sites and apps available. You will usually be asked to create a profile that includes your photo and some basic details about your interests and personality. You can search for potential matches and connect with others through the platform.

Although online dating services offer the possibility of finding a new partner, there are risks. Scammers can create a profile and try to take advantage of others on the site, especially those who seem very confident. Since seniors are often considered financially secure, thieves routinely target this demographic.

To avoid scams when dating seniors online, you can:

  • Protect your personal information.
  • Know the financial risks.
  • Look for local connections.
  • Meet in appropriate settings.
  • Make sure you’re not a target.
  • Check for any suspicious activity.

Protect your personal information

When meeting someone online, be careful not to share details related to your identity. “Never give out personal information, such as your phone number or address, before you’ve met, because scammers thrive on being able to contact their victims in multiple ways,” says Beth Ribarsky, professor of interpersonal communication at the University of Illinois. –Springfield. Use strong passwords and keep your social media accounts free of references to your pet’s name, house size, or financial information.

If a person wants to move quickly, this could be an indication that you should back off. “Scammers depend on people riding the wave of positive feelings,” says Ribarsky. “They can switch very quickly to very personal information and conversations.” They might flood you with phrases like “I love you” and excessive compliments to play on your emotions. If you receive this kind of praise, followed by a request for credentials, consider that a red flag.

Know the financial risks

Romance scams, also known as romance scams, occur when a scammer finds someone online, establishes a connection with them, and then asks for money. “A common sign of a romance scam is excessive flattery or affection early in the relationship in an attempt to manipulate your emotions,” says Emma McGowan, senior writer for Avast, a global online privacy and security company. “They also often have poor grammar or spelling, refuse to video chat, and frequently share excuses as to why they can’t meet in person.” The person can request a gift card or a temporary advance. They may also ask you to send checks to a certain address.

Find local connections

If you live in New Hampshire and talk to someone who claims to live in California, the relationship can get complicated. “The time and distance of a long-distance connection is the best cover a scammer could ask for,” says Eric Resnick, founder of ProfileHelper.com, an Orlando-based online dating profile writing service. It will usually be difficult to meet in person right after meeting. “That means they have all the time they need to get what they want from you without having to worry about being found out,” Resnick says.

Consider your area when meeting people online. “A good rule of thumb is to look no further than you would be willing to travel twice a week,” says Resnick. “It not only prepares you for better potential relationships, but it will protect you from anyone using a distance-based dating scam.”

Meet in suitable settings

Keeping initial conversations on the online dating platform can help keep you protected. “As soon as you take things private, you’re at a much higher risk of getting a virus or other malware,” Resnick says. “If someone contacts you and immediately wants to move the conversation off the dating site to text messages or your private email, that’s a red flag.”

When hosting an in-person meeting, find a public location. Agree to meet at a coffee shop, busy restaurant, or other place where other people are present. Tell someone you trust where you will be and how long you plan to stay.

Make sure you’re not a target

Just as burglars look for homes that have open windows, poor outdoor lighting, or no alarm system, dating scammers prey on the easiest targets. “They’re looking for people who talk about their generosity, mention that they’re looking to fill a void in their life, or are looking to move on after losing a spouse,” Resnick says. Anything you present that makes you vulnerable could increase your risk of being scammed.

Avoid discussing topics such as loneliness when initially connecting with a potential partner. Make your profile positive and forward-looking, not to mention your relationship history. “It not only makes you more attractive to real matches, it makes you less attractive to scammers,” Resnick says.

Check for suspicious activity

If something is wrong when you’re dating online, do some research on your own. Research the individual’s other public accounts, such as their social media IDs, to see if they match. Evaluate their LinkedIn photo or Facebook page to see if it’s the same as their online dating profile. People who are not present on social networks, or who do not have friends or followers, could use a false identity.

In case of financial fraud, get help from others. “If you think you’ve been the victim of a romance scam, immediately block the scammer on all forms of communication,” McGowan says. “Tell someone you trust and report the scam to the online dating app or social media website where the scammer first messaged you.”

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