Online dating. Red flags, instincts, and staying safe

Online dating tips on Silver Magazine

Plunging back into the world of dating can be a bit nerve-wracking, especially if you’re giving online dating a bash. We asked Charly Lester, co-founder and CMO at Lumen, the new dating app for over 50s, for a bit of advice.

Whether you’ve recently become single, or have single friends and family in your life, you’ll probably know that the dating scene has changed a lot over the years. Whereas in the past, people mainly relied on connections through friends or colleagues to meet a potential partner, nowadays tech-based solutions like dating apps are increasingly the norm.

Previously this may have had some stigma attached to it, attitudes are now changing. And why not? Dating apps allow users to connect with a much wider range of people than they might otherwise come across in their everyday life. It also means they can filter who they interact with, to ensure common habits and interests too.

Stay safe online dating tips Silver Magazine

If you’re new to the online dating world, it’s good to have some tips to hand to ensure you can keep yourself safe while exploring new connections.

While most people are genuine, it’s good to know how you can mitigate risks and keep clear of any ‘catfish’ – people who create fake profiles on dating sites to deceive others into thinking they’re someone else – who may be lurking.

Whilst our app has photo verification methods to stay catfish-free, there’s other obstacles to avoid, so here’s my top advice…

Trust your instincts

By all means, be open to getting to know your potential love interest inside and out, but trust your instincts and follow the rule that if something seems off, then it probably is.

For example, a red flag would be if the person you’re talking to is asking questions that could link to your banking details or address. Inevitably, the more you talk to someone online, the more inclined you may be to share personal information. Think about what they’re asking you.

When the time is right, and you decide to maybe meet up, be aware that sharing further information, such as pictures or old school details, might also give too much away to the wrong person.

…if the person asks you for money, or constantly makes excuses as to why they can’t meet you, something is probably awry

Most importantly, if the person asks you for money, or constantly makes excuses as to why they can’t meet you, something is probably awry. Fraudsters are experts in coercion, and while most people will be sincere, it’s good to stay alert.

Stay in control

The great thing about most dating apps are the built-in safety features. Not only can you use filters to determine exactly what you’re looking for in a potential partner, most apps have safety elements working to eliminate fraudsters.

By talking on the app before meeting in person, you remain in control, giving you time to build up your relationship, safe in the knowledge that the person you are speaking to is the real deal.

It’s always a good idea to communicate on the app for as long as possible before moving to text or WhatsApp, where you will have to give out your phone number and may have more difficulty blocking someone if things don’t work out.

Dating apps give you control to block or report suspicious activity and allow you to make a measured judgement before progressing to the next stage of your relationship. If someone is keen to lure you away from the dating app quickly, be vigilant. One you’re communicating direct it’s harder to monitor or trace fraudulent behaviour.

The first date

online dating tips stay safe meeting up Silver Magazine

If you’ve been having great conversations with someone and are ready to arrange your first date, be sure to choose a public place to meet, such as a bar or restaurant. This will help ease you into the date and relieve any concerns about being vulnerable.

By meeting in public, you are in control and can leave if the date starts to turn sour or your date isn’t quite who you expected them to be. In general, it’s also a good idea to keep an eye on your drinks and belongings as you would in a bar with friends, for example, and avoid leaving them unattended.

Finally, keep a friend or relative updated before and after the date, so that you can relax knowing someone is also looking out for you – and hopefully to tell them after about your fantastic date! 


With technology playing an increasingly important role in our everyday lives, it’s no surprise that it’s now helping us in our love lives too. There are tons of couples who’ve met thanks to dating apps; using these safety tips will ensure you’re prepared for the best possible dating experience with them too.  

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