Scam artists are everywhere nowadays. And while everyone is at risk, seniors can be a major target. It seems that you only need to pick up the newspaper or watch the news to hear about the latest financial scam and it’s something that has become an unwelcome part of modern life.
So what does this have to do with a dating site you ask?
Unfortunately, the anonymity of the internet makes it a perfect place for con artists to hide their real intentions while trying to entrap their victims under the guise of romantic interest.
Don’t get me wrong, the vast majority of members of reputable dating sites (both paid and free) are legitimately looking for a sincere match, but there are red flags that you should look out for when embarking on the journey of online dating for the first time. By-the-way these rules apply to anyone of any age!
Red Flag #1
If someone is too interested – too quickly – in getting to know you beyond the safety of your computer, this could indicate a problem. If you have just met someone online and they are trying to encourage a meet-up before you really know them, they may not just be overly eager.
Let your relationship take a slow and steady natural course of events and let your gut decide when it is right to call them. I would suggest no less than a month of chatting online before calling them – but this should only happen when you feel totally comfortable doing so.
Remember that when you give out your number, unless it is an unlisted number, you are giving out your address as well. People can easily do a reverse look-up on a phone number and see where you live. Whether their purpose is dangerous or just desperate, you want to steer clear of both of these.
Red Flag #2
When you do finally decide to meet up, decide on a neutral and safe location (a restaurant or a café) and have a friend or family member bring you and let them meet your date. If you cannot arrange this, make sure you tell someone close to you about your plans. Include the name of the person you are meeting, where you are meeting them and when you expect to be home. Write down any personal information that you have on your date also – like an address or cell phone number, and the dating site you met them on – and give it to your friend or family member.
Then tell your date that you are doing this. Blame it on your overly protective friend or family if you feel awkward about it. If your date has any issue with this and gets angry or cancels your plans at the last minute then this is a huge indicator that they may not be legitimate. If they don’t respect your need to be cautious, then move on.
Red Flag #3
If anyone wants you to give them any personal information be extremely guarded. Never give out banking information, details of how much your stock portfolio is worth, or the value of your home. And NEVER give money if it is asked for – even if they seem like a genuine person. Scam artists are exceptionally good at seeming like really nice people who just happen to need a few hundred dollars for some emergency!
That’s all for now. Next week, I’ll talk about a few other things to be wary of, but the important thing to remember is that the overwhelming majority of people that you’ll encounter are there for the same reasons as you!