Most of the people using over 50s dating sites are just like you. Older singles keen to try new experiences, meet new people and perhaps even find love! But within this diverse pool of amazing singles are a handful of unscrupulous scammers who are looking to cash in on the loneliness or generosity of online daters. This doesn’t mean online dating isn’t for you. But like every aspect of your digital life, it’s important that you take steps to protect yourself from fraud online. A few small and sensible measures plus a good dose of common sense can help to protect you from online dating scams.

We’ve brought together our top tips to help protect you from online dating scams, below.

Look Carefully at Dating Profiles

Online scammers often put together profiles that just feel a little off. The information may seem very basic or look like it has been copied and pasted from elsewhere. The photo may not be genuine, so if they look like a model posing for a shoot rather than a real person then alarm bells should go off. Scammers may also pretend to be located far from you or claim to be working very far from the location in their profile. A keen eye for detail and a brief google image search should help to alert you to potentially fraudulent profiles.

Take Extra Care if You’re in a High-Risk Group

Scammers can target anyone. Male or female. Young or old. But research shows that they often target groups with specific characteristics. If you are a woman dating over 40, a widower or a disabled person you are at a higher risk of being approached by a fraudster. So, make sure you are extra vigilant when you communicate online.

Be Wary of Providing Personal Details

Scammers want to get you off a dating website and fast. It reduces the risk of them being identified as fraudulent by the legitimate people who own and run the website. Texting, talking on the phone or over Skype allows them to communicate more freely and gain your trust faster, all while gathering valuable personal information. Of course, once you get to know someone and your connection progresses it’s likely that you will want to communicate outside of the site. But if they ask for contact details or any personal details quickly and particularly before you have met in person this should be a warning sign.

Look Out for Communication Issues

Many online dating scams involve people based in countries where English is not the first language. Therefore, someone who writes in poor or broken English could potentially be part of a fraud operation. Of course, this is not always the case, but it’s something to be on the lookout for along with other red flags.

Never Agree to Provide Money or Financial Information

This is one scenario that should set off glaring alarm bells. Never, under any circumstances agree to provide money to someone you have met on a dating site. It is always a scam. And it’s one that has seen people lose hundreds of thousands of pounds. It won’t always be direct either. Some fraudulent operations are very convincing and may start by asking seemingly innocent questions about your finances or spinning an elaborate sob story. Be aware. Be cautious. And don’t fall victim to this horrible crime.

Trust Your Gut and Be Prepared to Walk Away

Sometimes you won’t be able to identify one single thing about someone you are approached by. Something simply won’t feel right. In these situations, it’s always better to trust your gut and walk away. Our intuition is far more powerful than we think and any conversation that makes you feel uncomfortable is not communication you want to continue. Don’t worry about impolite or hurting anyone’s feelings. Your safety and peace of mind are much more valuable.

Dating online can be an amazing experience. One that singles of every age should embrace. But stay smart and safe online to make your online dating experience one that you remember for all the right reasons.