Dating after your sixties is not taboo anymore, as is evident by the many online dating sites for seniors. Thousands of senior citizens find online dating a new way to meet people, to find friends and to engage in new friendships and romantic relationships. It can be an effective way to find companionship, have someone to talk to and to share with. But online dating sites and apps are also a mining ground for romance scams. Around 5 million elderly Americans report every year that they were financially exploited by scammers. This figure does not account for all the seniors who do not report they have been victim, or the millions more that there are likely in other parts of the world.
One of the greatest problems with online dating is that users -especially senior citizens who started interacting online later in life – have not yet learned how far-reaching the implications are of what we share online. Initially, social media made connecting with our friends and families easier, but the platforms have grown so rapidly that we may not have had time to recognize the need for personal data protection. Companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google, as well as online dating websites, make millions of dollars each year by collecting, sharing and selling your private information without your consent, and thereby putting your safety at risk. The sharing of our daily lives is now second-nature to most. The amount of information users willingly share is too much to measure, however once that information is shared and photos are posted, it is already material to online predators.
The following are some of the tips that international private investigators have put together to help people stay away from romance scammers and online criminals.
Don’t let anyone be ahead of you
When you share too much information online, whether it is in your dating profile or once you have started chatting with someone on social media, you are letting scammers be a step ahead. Why? Because they already know information that can be used against you. For example, if you have share an address, family or work details, you could be blackmailed or your identity stolen.
Be brief and very short about personal details, and try to keep the conversation away from things that can identify yourself. “Scammers are great at this skill, they will never tell too much about themselves,” says John Wallace, Director of Background Checks at Wymoo International. In fraud cases, you would often find that the victims know little about the scammer even after communicating for years. A fraudster will only provide general information like a civil status, a general idea of what they do for a living, etc. so it will be harder to identify or verify them. How many Johns who are widows and engineers from Texas could there be? Thousands! How many single Marys who work as a nurse in Africa? A lot! Be smart and share only general and non-identifiable information about yourself, at least until you can confirm that the person you are talking to is someone you can trust.
How do you know that someone can be trusted?
Once you find an interest in someone in specific, hire a dating background check investigation as soon as possible! It is important that you ask the right questions to your online partner so you have enough information for the investigators. The least you should know is their full name and date of birth (or approximate age). Remember that the more you know, the more things that can be verified by investigators, such as employment and education, date of birth, address, ID or passport or documents, and so on. The background check investigation will provide enough evidence to determine whether the person you are communicating with is who he or she claims to be. If they’re not, then the best idea is to stop communicating with them immediately. Never continue the line of communication with someone who has been proven to be a fraud, as this can only lead to disaster.
Avoiding being a victim starts with being smart with your personal information and being skeptical about the people you meet. It sounds a bit pessimistic, but it’s necessary in today’s world.
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