Most likely we were dating in a more traditional way, when we met further boyfriend/wife in a bar, work or another environment when we had opportunity to meet the person face to face from a day one. These days technologies, allow us to meet online and chat with someone before we met, which is sometimes better for shy and introvert people. They often turn into online websites like singleandmature.com to find the other half, with the hopes, this will be the last person in their life with whom they will share the best moments and get old with.
I remember when my mum was after divorce told me she wants to start dating. As a busy businesswoman, she doesn’t have time to meet people in her work environment, neither she is a party person so chances she meet a guy in a bar were down to 0, as she doesn’t even drink alcohol. When she told me she will be dating online, I was worried. For me, who spends most of my time online I have experienced many scams attempts and I know how easy is to take advantage of vulnerable person online. I have to give my mum a lecture about an online world so she can be cautious. Especially that as a successful businesswoman who was still heartbroken but ready for new love, she was potentially a perfect victim of a scam with online dating or meet some psycho who wants to harm her. As I helped my mum, I also want to share the advice here for you.
One of the most important parts is to be aware of what you sharing about yourself online. I would rather create a nickname instead of giving your full name, as you can be easily found by search engines or social media sites like LinkedIn or Facebook. Scammers can quickly identify this way who you are. For example via LinkedIn they can check your work, research your position and salary or via Facebook they can check your family status, how many holiday photos you share etc. Make sure your social media is kept private, and if you creating a profile online use a nickname instead. Scammers can also use your private photos of your children, taking advantage of the fact that you are a single parent, so as much as you can be vulnerable so will your children and family.
When creating your bio you can be super proud of your success in life but withheld this information for yourself. As much as ‘’ successful businesswoman’ may sound attractive and independent, it will only attract those are after the money. Instead mention what kind of person you are, what are your hobbies etc. The right man will have similar career goals hopefully so your financial status won’t be in his interest but your heart and soul.
Once you created a profile and matched with someone ( well done) but there are also safety checks you should take. Don’t be too expressive and don’t tell where you live or where you work yet. Start with chit chat about hobbies, travel places, favourite foods etc. Try to get to know a person by interest than what they do and where they live and some don’t share that info back, keep it until you meet this person. Yes, you can mention at this stage what you do for example ‘I am an interior designer’ but when asking where you work or live, mention just your city or if you live in a small village in Cheshire, say Cheshire instead of the name. Until you meet that person face to face, don’t give them any info that they could potentially find you and harm you or your family.
Also, here often where scammer starts their ‘grooming’ of potential victims. Pretending to be a really good looking man, often there is a completely different person on the other side. Catfishing is these days a real thing. Check someone’s profile. Do the images look like a magazine shoot? Is he/she hiding face? Are they way to surreal to be true? Is the person mimicking you constantly with ‘’oh me too, yes I have done that too”? Instead of short answers try to engage with a long conversation with that person. If it is too good to be true, it probably is a red flag. An attempt to mimic your personality can be a sign of manipulation and often that person will just say that he/she has a similar interest in something to give you that fake reality of similar lifestyle/characters. To find out, start asking more questions, dig a bit more. If he/she has been in the same place for a holiday, they would know this place more or if you listen to the same music- this person will be able to tell you more. We often get too excited when we hear someone has similar interest and we tend to talk about it more, instead of asking questions which gives the perfect fuel to manipulators. Try to avoid by asking questions yourself. It should be a conversation after all, not a monologue. This way often scammer groom their victim giving them the fake feelings they met a soulmate and often ask for money, saying they are in debts or need money to travel. Be very cautious. Never send anyone money online, ever!
Meeting in person
That’s the exciting part and often quite anxious for many. As much at this stage, you are actually meeting the person face to face with whom you chatted online, here also you should be careful. Make sure you meet that person in a neutral environment like a bar or a public place like a museum of cinema. Don’t invite them to your home, or go to theirs unless is 3rd or 4th date and you know already where this person is working and have met their friends. You can meet someone dangerous without knowing it. Meeting in a safe public place often give you the chance to excuse yourself if the date won’t go as smooth or the person is not what you expected.