Protect Yourself when Dating Online

seems here to stay. According to

almost half of the public knows someone who uses online dating or who has met a partner via online dating and attitudes towards online dating have grown progressively more positive.

 How can you protect yourself when you’re dating online?

First, watch out for scammers. Unfortunately many older singles in their 50’s and 60’s are being scammed out of their life’s savings! The New York Times reported recently, “Between July 1 and Dec. 31, 2014, nearly 6,000 people registered complaints of such confidence fraud with losses of $82.3 million.” The real number is much larger because many are too embarrassed to admit it happened to them, which allows the criminals to perpetrate their scam on someone else.

What are some warning signs to watch out for when dating online? The F.B.I. gives the following alerts:

“1. Be cautious of people who claim that the romance is destiny or fate and that you are meant to be together.

2. Beware if a person tells you they love you and cannot live without you, but they need you to send them money so they can visit you. And if you do not send them money or help them, they will claim you do not love them.

3. Swindlers typically claim they are originally from the United States (or your region) but now are overseas, or are going overseas, attending to business or family matters.”

The AARP network recommends that you use Google’s “search by image” to see if the suitor’s picture appears on other sites with different names. Also, if an email from a potential suitor seems suspicious they recommend that you copy and paste it into Google and see if the words pop up on any romance scam sites.

What about protecting your heart when you’re dating online? I often advise singles to make a list of the qualities you’re looking for in a prospective partner. Be as picky as you want. If he or she is to fit nicely into your life, then you need to be specific. Don’t compromise. List everything your heart desires from physical appearance, to political beliefs, to leisure interests, to favorite foods. It’s all important. In fact, it’s often the small details that make or break a relationship so put them all on your list, big and small.

After you make your list, ask yourself if this list is a good match for you. Remember opposites attract, but the best partners are much like ourselves. If your list describes your opposite, you might want to rework it.

If you are recently divorced or widowed, it can be scary thinking about dating again. But you don’t have to be alone. There are safe ways to find romance by getting support from a psychologist who specializes in relationship development. If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my office and schedule an appointment so we can explore your options.

Read more on my website: Advise for Singles.

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