Safety in Online Dating for People over 50 - dummies

Safety in Online Dating for People over 50

By Pepper Schwartz

Online dating is safe for people over 50 — most of the time. But like anything, there’s an opportunity for taking advantage of people. There are a few malicious people who are out for themselves and can be dangerous to you. You need to have some rules that you follow all the time to be safe.

Keep your address private

When you first meet someone, it should always be in a public place. In fact, until you know a lot about this person, the person should never know your home address. Someone can seem like a regular guy or a well-balanced woman and turn into something else.

Until you’re absolutely positive that’s not going to happen, the person should never know your address. In fact, if the person acts hurt or angry because you don’t want to share that information, take that as a bad sign.

Do your due diligence

The great thing about dating in the digital age is that you have so many ways to track someone and find out whether the person has been truthful with you. If he says he graduated magna cum laude, you can look that up through school records (and, incidentally, find out whether he actually went to a specific school).

If he says he worked in a bank, that’s pretty easy to trace too. If you’re suspicious or a tiny bit paranoid, why worry? Use your favorite search engine to find basic information. Online search firms can find out whether your date has ever had a misdemeanor or felony.

You can do some direct due diligence, too. Ask to meet friends and do a little networking. For example, you can find people who went to the same high school that your date went to or people who know someone who went to that high school. Sooner or later you can find people who were in your date’s class and maybe get a look at the yearbook.

In most cases, you’ll be able to find some mutual friends or at least acquaintances, even if you start out quite unknown to each other. A little bit of detective work isn’t unethical; most people expect it nowadays!

Stick to paid sites

There are paid and unpaid online dating sites. For your own safety, fork over the cash for the paid ones. The reason is that it’s hard to track people on unpaid sites.

Because the paid sites have credit card information, they can check up on people who have complaints lodged against them and find out whether there’s any truth to the complaint. If there is, they’ll toss the people off the site and make it safer for everyone.

Set up meetings during the day in a public place

First meetings should be at a coffee shop in daylight and should last about 20 minutes. If the meeting goes swimmingly, you can always stretch it out. But agreeing on 20 minutes allows for polite interaction if there’s no chemistry or interest.

You shouldn’t meet at night for a while, nor should you meet somewhere isolated. Furthermore, if you’re a woman, never let the guy walk you to your car, even in the daylight. Ninety-nine percent of the time that would be just fine, but you should still worry about the 1 percent.

You’re going on the web for online dating to meet people you wouldn’t have met otherwise. You not only don’t know these people but also may not know anyone else who knows them. This kind of anonymity presents its own risk, so you really have to be careful not to put yourself in an awkward situation where no one would notice if you were threatened.