Are You Mature Online Dating Prey

Given the ever-increasingly hectic pace of people's lifestyles, online dating might seem like the perfect solution for those seeking romance in their mature years. Unfortunately, among those prospective Prince and Princess Charmings is a large group of online predators who are waiting to take advantage of mature daters and any potential security slipups. Online dating safety is crucial for any age bracket, but seniors are often seen as a particularly easy mark.

The Ease of Online
The advantages to online dating have resulted in a huge spike of users in recent years, especially among the mature crowd. You can operate on your own schedule and are not reliant upon friends, family or chance meet-cutes. Additionally, you have extra time to craft the words that will showcase your best qualities. Without the fear of immediate rejection, many seniors find that they can open up more easily in an online correspondence with a stranger than they would in real life.

That initial lack of face-to-face interaction is often manipulated by those hoping to cash in on seniors looking for romance. Dating Web sites, particularly those geared specifically to mature users, are often peppered with fake profiles created by people hoping to lure in optimistic seniors. With a few keystrokes, carefully chosen adjectives and a charming fake headshot, online predators can create the profile of a perfect date - one to whom Web site users will give the information that can result in easy identity theft. While a senior might think that Joe Smith, that sweet widower from a few towns over, only has eyes for her profile, the person who created that profile is charming Social Security Numbers and credit card information from 15 women at a time.

How to Protect Yourself
You don't want to scare yourself out of a prospective love match, but there are commonsensical steps one can take to prevent the pursuit of love from taking a nasty turn:

  • Assume that she's too good to be true - at first. If it seems that your date has been custom-tailored to your preferences, consider the possibility that that might have actually happened. Don't rush into things assuming that you have found your soulmate. It is always wise to assume that half of the profiles out there are fake. If she proves to be the real deal, fantastic, but there is a possibility that she is not.
  • Maintain an air of mystery. If it seems as if your prospective date is rushing things, ask him to take it slow. Explain that online dating is new to you and you want to proceed at a pace that is comfortable for you. If he is asking to meet you immediately - or if he quickly starts asking you personal questions - let that be a red flag. If your prospective date doesn't slow things down, assume that he is interested in you for the wrong reasons.
  • Do not give out important financial information. To anyone. At all. This cannot be stressed enough. There is no reason whatsoever that can justify the need to provide credit card, banking or other financial information to a prospective date. Ever.
  • Ask to see multiple photographs. If you can see multiple photographs of an individual, it is more likely that you are speaking to a real person, not a con artist. It is easy to attach a headshot to a fake profile, but it is more difficult to create a photo album of realistic shots.
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