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Online Safety Tips for Dating in Your Later Years

Updated on November 14, 2017
man wearing blue jacket holding a brown stick towards the heart drawn on sand
man wearing blue jacket holding a brown stick towards the heart drawn on sand | Source

Online dating isn’t a new thing, but it can be a bit of a mind field when you’re in your later years. This can be partly due to the fact that not everyone is computer literate, let alone being familiar with all the ins-and-outs of the internet. This is not to say that older people aren’t good with computers; in fact there are a lot of people who were brought up in the 70’s / 80’s / 90/s and who actually studied computers in their infancy. It is however a fact when it comes to online dating that mature people are often the designated go-to people that scammers seem to target. In 2014 alone, the scope of romance scams amounted to more than $82 million. So why is that, and how can you make your mature online dating safer?

Why do scammers target mature people?

To begin, we need to understand why scammers prefer to target older people. It doesn’t just happen within the dating sphere but also in many other domains. A good example of this is to look at those pushy door-to-door salesmen who try to take advantage of you because you’re in your later years. The sad reality is that older people are often seen by scammers as lonely and therefore more vulnerable to falling for scams. Unfortunately this can be easily applied to the world of dating: if you are online looking for love or companionship, then you give away the fact that you are alone. Scammers will try to use those feelings of loneliness to trick you into thinking they care for you, only to attempt getting some money from you later down the line. This sounds pretty bleak, and it should make you think twice before joining any dating site. The truth is that there are many scammers as there, bu there are ways to make sure you don’t fall victim from their nefarious actions.

Tip#1 - Stay calm and logical

The first thing, and the most important by far is that you need to approach dating with a calm and logical approach. As emotional as it can all get, you need to keep your head together so that you feel you are in control at all times. If you are looking at this through a logical point of view; there are no reasons why you would let some online stranger get to you. You’re safe behind your computer, you are sat down in your house in your own environment. Just like when a cold-caller phones you, you have all your rights to hang the phone. In the case of dating, you don’t need to reply to messages you deem undesirable. Here’s a key psychological trick: don’t let your good manners and your fear of coming across as impolite dictate your actions. People online who want to scam you will obviously try to manipulate your emotions, and they will rely on the fact that some people are too polite to say ‘no’.

Tip#2 – Look after your privacy

Another thing scammers try to do is they will fish for your private information. If they manage to get your real name, your home address, your phone number and other important private details; they can then use that info to try to impersonate you. Your private details could be used to commit identity fraud, potentially accessing your important online accounts. It doesn’t take much for people to figure out some of your private info. For example, one of the classic ways people on social media obtain your important details is by asking what you ‘porn star name’ is. They will ask you to use the name of your first pet, in combination of your mother’s maiden name. This one is older than the internet, and it feels innocent on the surface. However you know that you mother’s maiden name is often used as a security layer for accessing your bank account, and a lot of online services use your first pet name as a secondary method of authentication. So make sure you don’t give people online any of your private details, especially if they ask for them. Also if you’re going to have a webcam chat, make sure no family pictures or paperwork can be seen by your camera. These days, webcams can make it easy to tell the details on a piece of paper, and you basically don’t want your bank letters to be lying around for everyone to see.

Tip#3 – Spot fake profile pictures

It is currently estimated that more than 10% of online dating profiles are fakes, so how do you tell if someone is lying about themselves, or if their profile is a fake one? The first thing you can do is to check their profile picture. Does it look like a normal photo or does it look like it was taken by a professional? If the person looks like a fashion model, there are chances that the picture is fake, and doesn’t belong to that person. If you’re using the Google Chrome browser, you can hover your mouse on top of the image, right click and select ‘Search google for image’. This will then show if the image is being used anywhere else on the web. If you see that the image is in fact used in other online articles, or if is used on another person's social media page; then you know that person is lying about their profile picture. No point speaking to them any longer. It's one thing not to be physically confident, but lying about your looks to that extend is just pure deception.

Tip#4 – Spot fake profile content

Speaking about online profiles, they also contain a little part where people talk about themselves. You can copy that text into Google and see if in fact they just took it straight out of an online template. Nothing wrong with people taking some inspiration, but this is just too vague to be able to tell what someone is really like. Also, remember what their profile says and see if the person’s behavior matches their description. It’s a little bit like a job interview: if someone states on their CV that they are polite and well-spoken but they keep swearing and not being so good with their language; there is a big discrepancy between what they said on their CV and what they actually are like. You can’t exactly trust that sort of attitude as once again, it falls down under the category of lying.

Tip#5 – Use the right dating site based on your needs

On a finishing note, you will want to find a dating site that deals with your needs. In the case of looking for mature singles online, you will want to avoid traditional dating sites whose population is made of younger people. People there aren’t always respectful and you can also end up facing a lot of rejection. Instead you can go and use mature dating sites where you will meet other people who are closer to your age. Mature dating sites will be better than traditional dating sites where younger generations are less than polite. Online dating is more about finding the right community to approach, and you’re better off with like-minded people who understand you better. As long as you put your guards up, take your time and stay in control; online dating isn’t actually so bad. You get better at it the more you practice, and the more familiar you get with it the more you will see those scammers coming from miles away.

Tip#6 – Look for local alternatives

There are other places where you can meet people, and in fact those could be found locally. For example, you could join a book club or even a cooking club close to your home. The idea is to find an activity that you enjoy doing so that you can meet other people who are into the same things as you. Maybe you have a passion for golf or even wine, and sharing that passion with others will make you more likely to meet like-minded people. Of course you might not meet other singles straight away, but getting to know new people can only open the gates to meeting someone you will fancy in the future. Basically if you engage in local activities you are meeting new people, and it is by making friends that we end up meeting potential partners.

So to conclude, dating in the modern world can feel like a difficult thing to do when you are in your later years, but there are plenty of things you can do to make it happen. Just remember that it is all about meeting new people and keeping safe, with a great emphasis on safety. As long as you take your time and stay true to yourself, you will find that online dating sites aren't so bad, they just take a while to get used to. If you still prefer the traditional methods, look on Google for some local groups and activities. After all, love isn't necessarily too far away, and you will most likely find the right partner if you look closer to home.

© 2017 daz-keen


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