When online dating first started many people had an unfavorable view of it. That has changed over the years. Online dating has gone mainstream for people of all ages.
More Baby Boomers are Dating Online
In 2015 the Pew Research center conducted a survey and found the 59% of people think that online dating is a good way to meet people. Men and women across all age groups are using online dating services in search of a partner. From 2013 to 2015 the share of 55- to 64-year-olds who use online dating doubled (from 6% in 2013 to 12% in 2015), according to the Pew Research Center. Not only has online dating become accepted it has also become more specialized. Older adults can join dating websites that are for people in their age group.
How to Spot a Dating Scammer
Putting yourself out there to meet someone is a big step. It also comes with risks. Yet there are many ways to minimize that risk. ScamAwareness.Org provides tips and information that teach people to recognize the "red flags" that may indicate potential scams, and arm them with information that they can use to protect themselves and their loved ones. In a warning about romance scams, the organization identified 4 warning signs of online dating scam artist. Someone like this typicallly:
- Asks you to leave the dating website you met through and to communicate using personal e-mail or instant messaging
- Professes instant feelings of love
- Makes plans to visit you but is then unable to do so because of a tragic event
- Asks for money for a variety of reasons (travel, medical emergencies, hospital bills for child or relative, visas or other official documents)
Another tip-off is when someone sends you a photograph of himself or herself that looks like something from a glamour magazine.
Staying Safe When Dating Online
Let’s look at 15 web smart things that you can do to protect yourself when using an online dating service.
- Only use dating sites with well-known reputations.
- Check the website addresses carefully. Scammers can be clever about setting up fake websites with very similar addresses to legitimate dating websites.
- Fill out only the personal information that is required. Keeping your digital presence to a minimum is a smart online practice no matter what kind of account it is.
- Don’t give online account details to anyone you don't know and trust.
- Don't give out any personal information in an email or when you are chatting online.
- Block suspicious users and report them right away to the dating site. A good dating website will make this easy to do and anonymous.
- Keep conversations on the platform. Unsavory characters want to move the conversation outside of the dating site to text, personal email or phone conversations as soon as they can.
- Set up a junk email account and use that first when you're ready to transition to conversations outside the dating website.
- If you use a public computer to access your online dating account make sure to logout when you’re done so that your information will not be available to the next user.
- Be cautious about opening email attachments from someone you have just met. If you do make sure that your internet security software is up to date.
- Use other social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to see if you can find more information about the person you’re interested in. Companies do that before they hire someone. Why shouldn’t you do it before you date someone?
- If you can find and access their Facebook page select More at the top under their profile picture. Here you’ll be able to view Check-ins, Likes, Events they’ve gone to, who they follow, etc.
- Do a web search to see if there are other records of the person online.
- Do an image search with Google to check profile photos. Do this by searching Google for the name then select the Images link at the top of the page. Select Tools to narrow your search by Type to Face or Photo. Also under Tools you can set a custom date range.
- Use a people search engine like Pipl, Spokeo or Yasni to find a personal profile, images, social media information, and more.