Online Dating is a tricky enough platform for younger people however for older folks, dating in the digital world presents some different challenges. From catfishing to scams targeting the elderly, to gold-diggers and ghosting, we want to tell you about common online dating issues for senior citizens to keep them safe and sound.
Catfishing has been around forever however with the relative anonymity of the Internet, it seems to be more of an issue than ever before. Catfishing is basically luring someone into a relationship by means of a fictional online persona. Some what like seriously padding your resume when applying for a job, a Catfish seems to be too good to be true, and they often are. They will talk about assets they own(But don’t own), personal wealth that really doesn’t exist and they will claim to have personality traits such being gentlemanly, chivalrous, romantic and all the wonderful things people dream about in a partner. If you find yourself getting wound up in their words but haven’t seen evidence of these material and emotional traits they claim to have, step back and slow down. Let them show you with actions that they are indeed who they say they are. If your gut tells you that something isn’t right, listen to it because it means it usually isn’t!
When it comes to getting taken advantage of, there are no shortage of scams targeting the elderly. In the online dating world, there are plenty of scam artists trying to work their way into your wallets and purses. The most common online dating scam is the fake profile. The photos of the person will usually professional quality and the profile write-up itself quite vague or could apply to anyone. “I like walks along the beach and being active”…Sure, so does everyone else. If you take the bait and connect with one of these fake profiles, you’ll be asked to join another site to see more photos or to “chat”. This is when they get you to take out that credit card for further access. DO NOT ever give your credit card information to anyone in the online dating world, for ANY reason. Your card number will instantly be sold and and resold all over the globe and mysterious charges will start appearing on your banking statement.
Gold-diggers are all over the online dating sites, especially when these dating sites ask you your income level. Gold diggers quickly try and learn about your financial situation, your assets and once they realize you are wealthy enough to help take care of them, they fake interest in you. They say all the right things, like how great and sexy and attracted they are to you. At first they play it cool, then they will start making subtle hints…”I wish I could afford this coat”, “These shoes would look great on me but I can’t spend that kind of money”, “I’d love to take you out to dinner, but money is tight right now” and some of the common phrases they will use to attempt to get after your money. Don’t be mistaken, there is nothing wrong with a potential date asking about your financial health…No one wants to date someone with financial issues however be careful about those that say they are in a good place financially, yet never have any money, or never offer to pay for dates or go on about how they love to be spoiled.
Ghosting is a somewhat newer epidemic with online dating and even digital communication in general. You start talking with someone online and all seems well. You both seem compatible, seem to have mutual interest in each other and suddenly, without warning or reason, POOF! They disappear like a ghost. There was no fight, argument, disagreement or anything leading up to the disappearance…They just vanish. There are a few possible reasons why they’ve done this to you. It could be that they found someone else and didn’t have the courage to tell you, they could have been married and suddenly found a conscience, could be scammers that feel you are no longer a worthy target, they could have lost interest altogether or in rare cases, something bad actually happened to them. Sometimes these “ghosts” contact you again, usually because they struck out with the others they were pursuing but sometimes it is a change of heart. Just be careful with those returning ghosts, they might just disappear again. Remember that when you are ghosted, it’s usually not a reflection on you as a person, but rather the Ghost and their ability to communicate. Try to not take Ghosting personally, and know that it’s unfortunately pretty common.
How can you avoid some of these pitfalls with online dating websites? Use your instincts, gut feelings and some common sleuthing tips.
- As soon as you feel somewhat comfortable, exchange phone numbers. You can gain better insight into a person’s intentions when talking on the phone, and get a better idea of what kind of person they might be. It’s easy to lie on the internet with emotionless and faceless texting, more difficult doing it on the phone.
- Ask for their full name. Then Google, Facebook and LinkedIn search both their name and their phone number. If you find nothing that seems out of the ordinary then you should be okay to meet in person. However if you find nothing, no records online at all and the person already seems to good to be true, or isn’t forthcoming about personal information then you should be cautious about meeting them.
- Meet as soon as you feel comfortable. Don’t spend weeks chatting and building things up without meeting them first. Meet them in a public place, tell a friend who and when you are meeting them and if you want to be extra cautious, ask a friend to also go to the location. Meet the person at a coffee shop, then have your friend sit close by and keep an eye on things. Ask the friend to get the license plate number when your potential suitor drives away, just for added precaution.
There is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to find love when online dating, you just have to wade through some junk to find quality. Remember to be safe, be cautious and definitely take things slow. Don’t get caught falling in love without actually meeting them. It’s easy type romantic words, easy to appear to be a good match online but in person, that’s an entirely different thing. Spend a little time figuring out if they have the traits you are looking for then as soon as you feel safe to do so, meet them and see if they are as they have advertised. Be prepared to meet a few duds, but don’t get discouraged, your perfect match is out there somewhere. You might as well have an online dating profile in case they are there and not at the grocery store or in the bank lineup :0)