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When Seniors Try Online Dating Sites: Caution Advised

When Seniors Try Online Dating Sites: Caution Advised

It may seem a bit strange to think of your senior parents or even grandparents mention online dating.  Many of us can’t even imagine our grandma or grandpa using the internet much, let alone logging into an online dating site and posting a profile!  But, the truth is more and more seniors are getting comfortable using the internet, and many are also looking for companionship.

Seniors are more active than ever before, and the internet is just one of the aspects of the happy and fun-filled lifestyle that many older folks are participating in these days.  Sad to say, the world has changed and in 2014, the world isn’t as safe as it was in 1950’s for most citizens in most countries around the world.  New crimes and risks have emerged, and the internet is far from risk-free.

Seniors Getting Online

Believe it or not, online dating has become very popular with older adults. It provides them with an easy way to socialize and have fun, while not having to leave their homes. It is a way to stay busy and to bring new emotions to their lives.  While grandma or grandpa may seem totally content, they are often alone and can be seeking a partner, just as with any adult.  Life goes on.  According to recent data published, there are 107 million singles in the United States. Over 1/3 of them (35 million) are over the age of 50. 

Now, let´s put aside the thoughts on grandma having a romantic conversation, and focus on what´s important: her safety. Teaching seniors how to be safe from online dangers is one of the best gifts you can give them.  At this stage in life, being a victim of fraud or scam can be utterly devastating and a financial train wreck.  Don’t let your mom or dad, or grandma or grandpa fall victim to the growing number of scam cases and be the next statistic. The truth is that there are internet criminals targeting seniors everyday.

How to Lower the Risk

Remember that computers arrived late in the lives of many senior citizens. Many have learned how to manage it perfectly well, but others might still be struggling to keep up with the fast changing technology. Who isn’t?  Older folks are more likely to believe in the internet profile, whether it’s online dating or social networks.  They might not be aware of the high risk when talking about personal data, such as date of birth, address, and other information.  Senior citizens are also more likely to open a suspicious email, click on a link or open a file that is sent from a criminal posing as the perfect date.  The possibilities for fraud are endless.

Take some time to teach your mom or dad, or older friend, what to look out for, and urge them to be cautious about anyone they meet online.  Stress the importance of protecting their private data, and never sending money to anyone they’ve met online, for any reason.  Let them know you’re there to help, and if they have any doubt, ask you about it first, so you can both decide together.  Talk to your senior about being skeptical, and watching out for dating scams, fake profiles, hackers and identity theft attempts.

Older adults can even visit the straight forward U.S. government web portal on dating scams to learn how to identity the red flags.  This site breaks down the risks and offers helpful advice in a clear fashion.

The more tools like dating background checks and concerned friends and family to protect seniors is the best prevention.  Some have recently widowed and feel lonely, and they can be vulnerable.  In any case, make sure they approach online dating with a skeptical eye, and realistic expectations.

C. Wright
© 2014 Wymoo International

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