Humans are inclined to form relationships. As a result, we’ll use whatever methods make dating and romantic relationships more accessible, allowing us to find a life companion even when we’ve advanced in age.
However, even the best senior dating sites and speed dating setups can have safety risks like traditional dating. If you’re not careful, romance scams and other dangers can come with them.
Here’s everything you need to know about staying safe on online dating sites and what potential hazards you may encounter in your search for the one.
How Seniors Can Stay Safe While Online Dating
One of the most common ways to find a date nowadays is through a mobile app or website. Instead of facing a person, you get a screen with their pictures and preferential information.
However, not everything on that profile is real. People can easily alter appearances and information with a tap on the screen.
When you open your account, you can immediately start receiving local matches to help you connect with people. While this is desirable, it also comes with safety concerns you must address.
As a result, every online dating site also comes with its risks. The internet is filled with scams, frauds, and people with red flags.
It can be more difficult to gauge these risks for older adults who might not have much experience with technology and may have been out of the dating scene for some time.
Having friends and family who are aware of your attempts at dating and help in filtering and limiting the information you share can be the best way to stay safe online.
Common Safety Risks In Senior Dating
To make online dating safe, it’s best to learn about the risks so you can be prepared to deal with them.
These are some of the most common risks in senior dating, especially on dating sites.
Online Scams And Frauds
Some of the most significant risks of online dating are the scams and frauds that victimize users, especially older ones. It’s common to find fake profiles on any dating app or website looking to make a quick buck.
Keep your eye out for messages that indicate a get-rich-quick scheme or anything that would ask you to reveal financial information.
It’s also common to encounter someone who’s looking for financial assistance. It’s best to ignore or report these messages to prevent any problems with your account.
It’s also best not to meet up with these people unless you’ve been talking to them for a long time. It can still be risky even if they’re from your local community.
It isn’t easy to know if you’re talking to a real person or if they’re using a different person’s picture to deceive or mimic you.
Having to post personal pictures and information is already a red flag when it comes to online security. These people are capable of using your profile information for illegal activities online.
Be wary of people who often avoid video chats and constantly make excuses as they may be catfishing you. The face you see can be a victim of identity theft whose likeness is now being used to trick others.
It’s also important to know what to share since you could be a victim of identity theft if you’re not careful. While it’s ideal that you get to know each other, it’s also essential to be conscious of how much you can share.
If you do thorough research on the statistics regarding online dating, physical harm is more common than you think. It can manifest on the first date or later in the relationship.
It’s common to find these, especially on dating sites for sex and those which would encourage people to meet in person.
You can also encounter problems with age range, even if you’re mature dating. Some senior singles can encounter younger people who can take advantage of them and vice versa.
It’s best to bring a safety buddy when arranging these meetups. It ensures you’re safe while meeting people, especially with how older adults can have additional physical limitations.
Emotional And Psychological Harm
When you’re on a dating site, looking for an emotional relationship and connection with other older adults is normal.
However, it is common to encounter emotional and psychological harm on the internet, especially with the freedom anonymity brings.
It’s possible to have someone challenge your religious beliefs and morals, prey on your insecurities, or gaslight you, which can lead to manipulation or depression.
If you feel like the people you’re talking to avoid video chats and continue to lead you on, it’s best to set boundaries and find a better match that will allow you to grow and won’t try to abuse or bully you.
Examples And Statistics To Support The Risks
These risks and scams are more common than you think. It can easily happen to you if you’re not careful.
In recent years, studies show that over 50% of Americans who use online dating sites have experienced catfishing. It’s double the number of people who experienced it five years ago.
It was also confirmed by a 2020 Pew Research Center study that many people, especially women, experience harassment online. While some sites require confirmation to ensure that the user is 18 and above, most of the targets of these messages were minors.
Many seniors also tend to experience receiving unwanted messages, which can damage a person’s view of the dating scene.
These examples are just the tip of the iceberg. While no one deserves to experience these events, they can be unexpected and out of our control.
How To Stay Safe While Dating
Many factors can pose personal safety issues, especially regarding dating.
Here are a few dating tips to remember to help you stay safe while dating online.
Use Trusted Dating Websites And Apps
Sticking to a reputable dating site is best when looking for love online. Read through reviews and learn how they protect their members.
Some of the best senior dating sites offer bonus services that can help you filter people out and know more about the other members.
While a free basic membership can help you connect with other people on the dating platform, you can receive better potential matches with a paid membership.
The best dating site usually limits its online message function and video chat to those who pay for their membership. It also has additional functions to help you learn more about your potential partner.
They can even have a professional matchmaker to help provide ideal potential partners. This premium service can help get better match preferences that will be safer to interact with.
Never Share Personal Or Financial Information
The cardinal rule of dating apps is to NEVER reveal financial information to whoever you’re talking to.
These tend to lead to theft, whether of your identity or finances.
Be careful with the type of information you give, even if you’ve already gone on your first date. There’s a right time to discuss these matters.
Meet In Public Places
If you want to take your date outside the apps, meeting at a public place, like the local park or coffee shop, is best.
It ensures that you have other people around you in case something terrible happens. If you ever receive that unfortunate match, it also discourages potentially dangerous people from doing anything to you.
You can also try to attend events arranged by a dating concierge. These facilitated events can reduce the risk of dating since participants are usually screened beforehand.
We also recommend not having your date pick you up from your house. While there is a romantic notion to it, it’s not the safest way to meet someone you’ve never seen face to face.
Tell Someone About Your Date
Wanting to meet your date on your own comes with numerous safety concerns. Even if it’s in public, it can still be dangerous to see someone you’ve only met online.
Ensure that a family member or close friend knows you’re meeting up if you’re going out with someone you found online.
Trust Your Instincts
Sometimes, you can notice the red flags when conversing with someone online. It can involve their actual marital status, their relationship history, interests in a specific age group, and more.
Don’t hesitate to ask for a video chat if you need reassurance. It’s also a great way to see what the person looks and acts like before you meet in person.
If you feel something is wrong, learn to set boundaries and click on that report button if needed.
If you already have a date, it’s always your choice to cancel it if you don’t feel safe. Just remember to inform the person to be polite.
Tips For Safe Online Dating
Most dating websites designed for older adults tend to have features to (ideally) filter out any threats.
However, some may slip through the cracks and target older adults who aren’t as tech-savvy as younger singles.
Take note of the following when you’re trying out online dating:
- Create A Strong Password: The best way to protect your account is by creating a solid and unique password to prevent getting hacked.
- Avoid Revealing Too Much Information In Your Profile: One of the best ways for older folks to have their identities stolen is for them to share too much information. Don’t volunteer too much personal information, especially when meeting someone online for the first time.
- Use A Different Email Address For Dating: It will help prevent spam emails and other personal information from getting leaked from your primary email.
- Maintain Communication on Your Dating App: Moving your communication and coordination out of your dating apps will prevent you from being able to report a dangerous account. It also falls out of the site’s liability if anything happens and it isn’t recorded there. These dating apps tend to have audio and video calls, so there’s no need to use a different app. Keep your correspondences within the app.
- Beware Of Suspicious Messages Or Profiles: It’s important to be wary of any unusual messages, especially those with suspicious details. Online dating scams are a prevalent way for people to have their identities and money stolen.
- Report Any Suspicious Behavior Or Harassment: Don’t be afraid to click on the report button if you receive any unwanted messages that can be spam or harassment. These can also occur through audio and video chats.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
You may have more questions about online dating safety.
We’ve gathered the most common questions to help you with your research.
Why Do Older Adults Go to an Online Dating Site?
It’s normal for people to look for relationships, whether it’s for friendship or romance. Reasons can vary, but most have shown positive results for these people.
A study back in 2010 in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine confirms the benefits of relationships to our life and mental health. It’s further confirmed by a 2017 newsletter by the National Institutes of Health.
The Dating Institutes Over Health suggests that dating positively affects heart health-related issues and stress.
What Are the Limitations of Senior Dating Sites?
Dating sites specifically for seniors tend to restrict based on age. They try to discourage pairs with more than a decade of age difference from forming any physical or emotional relationship.
Some sites can also have member-only events and other exclusive deals to keep their members safe while enjoying the dating scene.
However, these limitations don’t guarantee safety. It’s still important to practice online dating with caution.
Online dating is one of the national trends that won’t be leaving any time soon, even for older adults.
Being aware of the warning signs and knowing your boundaries is the best way to stay safe when you’re dating online.