By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
A 2018 survey conducted by Medicare Advantage revealed that 29% of adults aged 55 and older dated someone they met online through a dating service in the past year. According to the survey, looking for love online ranks more popular than every other category of ways to meet — bar/night club, church, gym, out and about, social clubs, speed dating, work and school — except for mutual friends introducing them.
While some people can find a date and maybe a long-term relationship online, it’s important to approach online dating cautiously.
Helen Newman teaches at TechAge, a program of the Louis S. Wolk JCC of Greater Rochester. She has known clients who have signed up for dating sites. She cautions older adults to be careful about using their main email address when signing up. Instead, “set up a special, new email address through Gmail that’s unique for that purpose,” she said. “You won’t get all of the email that these companies start sending out to your regular email account and you can shut down that email anytime you want.”
Some sites offer a free trial period and that the fine print agreement states will lapse into a paid account unless you opt out before the trial ends. That’s one reason Newman advises using a prepaid card instead of a standard credit card or debit card.
“There are a lot of websites out there for dating that are pretty bad,” she said. “Go with the bigger companies that are more well known. Do some research on them.”
Once you sign up, it’s also wise to limit the amount of identifying information listed. While it’s necessary to build trust, you also need to protect yourself.