10 Tips For Online Dating Success
BY HALEY MATTHEWS
In 2014, people lost $82 million in romance scams, according to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center. Often these types of scams occur on dating sites, and single senior women are typically the targets.
We don’t want to scare you away from online dating, though. There are ways to make sure you don’t become the next victim. Here are 10 tips specifically for senior women to stay safe when online dating.
Research the Site Before Joining
Almost 8,000 dating sites exist in the world, and you don’t want to join the first one you see. At least not without looking into it first. Experts, businesses, and consumers like you write reviews of senior dating sites all the time, so read about their experiences (both good and bad). You’re sure to find a platform that can meet your wants and needs.
Use a New Email Address
We recommend creating a whole new Google, Hotmail, Yahoo, or AOL email address that you’ll only use for online dating. That way, if you come across a scammer, or even if you end things with someone, they won’t have your real email address. It’s not that hard to hack into email addresses and then your other accounts from there, especially if you use the same password. If you ever want to stop talking to someone on a dating site, you can just disappear.
Never Reveal Personal or Financial Information
This seems like an obvious tip, but you won’t believe how many people still don’t listen. You never want to tell an online match your last name, your parents’ last name(s), your address, your pet’s name, your children’s name(s), your bank, or any other personal or financial information. You also shouldn’t put this information on your profile. You’d basically be giving people more opportunity to steal your identity.
Watch Out for Poor Grammar
We’re not all trained journalists, so it’s OK if you notice someone making a few grammar and spelling mistakes on a dating site. However, if it happens all the time, you’ll want to have your guard up. A lot of romance scammers are from other countries, so English isn’t their first language. And they typically target Americans.
Do a Background Check on Your Matches
There’s nothing wrong with making sure the person you’re talking to is who they say they are — no matter what some advice articles say. Sure, you don’t want to ruin the first date by knowing everything about the person, but you also want to make sure you aren’t being taken advantage of. Sites like BeenVerified can give you reports on people based on public records and things like that. It’ll tell you if your match has a criminal history and is already married, among other pieces of information.
Keep Chatting on the Site Until You’re 100% Comfortable to Call or Text
Another red flag is if your match wants to immediately (like within the same day) leave the dating site and start texting and emailing from your personal number or account. If something weird happens between you two, and you’re still on the dating site, you can block the person and report them to the customer service team. The person could even end up being banned from the site.
When you want to move the conversations to phone or text, there are services, such as Google Voice, that will give you a new number to use. It’s just another layer of protection until you really know this person.
Meet the Person Within a Week of Matching
Typically, you’ll want to meet up with your match within a week or two of connecting on a dating site. Not only will you see if the chemistry is there in real life, but you’ll also see if they’re being honest about themselves or not. If they keep putting the first date off, that’s cause for some alarm.
Don’t Let Them Pick You Up at Home
If your match offers to pick you up for the first date, politely decline and say that you can just meet them at the coffee shop, restaurant, park, or whatever the agreed-upon location is. You don’t want him or her to know where you live until you actually know them. Plus, they could be working with other people on this scam and can tell them that you’re not home.
Make Sure the Place is Lit & Someone Knows Where You Are
When choosing the place for your first date, you want to make sure it’s well-lit and that there are going to be lots of people around. We also suggest telling a friend or family member the time and location of your date, when you’re leaving the date, when you get home, and the name of the person and what they look like.
Stay Relatively Sober
We don’t want to spoil any fun on a first date, so definitely feel free to have a beer or glass or wine… or two. Just remember not to go overboard. You want to make a good first impression, but you also want to keep your wits about you for the whole date. Women can be more affected by alcohol than men.
We truly believe most people are good, so we’re not saying you should never try online dating. It really is a fun and efficient way to meet people. But keep these tips in mind — we don’t want you to become the face of the next romance scam story.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – HAYLEY MATTEWS
Hayley Matthews is editor-in-chief at DatingAdvice.com, a popular site featuring advice from more than 250 dating coaches, matchmakers, and other relationship experts. In addition to expert tips and guides, the site also publishes reviews of the best online dating sites. When Hayley isn’t writing about dating and relationships, she’s listening to The Beatles or watching Harry Potter movies.