Online dating after 50: how to avoid toads (and scammers)

Julie Greig started dating online a few years after she was widowed at 54. Her book, Kissing Toads, teaches you how to start and enjoy your online dating life while avoiding scammers and con artists. She shares a small excerpt with Citro, but the book also includes information on how to start dating online, what to put in your profile and more.

By Julie Greig

Kissing frogs, avoiding toads

Toads are not only on dating sites but everywhere and they are not all male - so please, please remember you need to be alert and trust your instincts.

I am definitely not anti-male; actually, you already know that because I’m on a dating site hoping to meet the man who will sweep me off my feet. I want a frog, not a toad.

Toads come in various forms. Beware of superannuation hunters, these toads are well versed in honing in on loneliness. They see it in your pictures and read it in your words. They know exactly how to manipulate you with their charm and, as the prize is worthwhile, they don’t mind taking their time to get what they have come for. Remember, these toads aren’t always online; they are out there in the real world too. Be careful.

Often referred to as sweetheart scammers, they know exactly how to play the game, they know what strings to pull and they have been following you carefully. Social media provides them with all the information they need to make them seem appealing to you.

People often wonder how someone could be so foolish as to get involved with a stranger and give them money. It’s simple really and can happen to people in any age group. With these toads, the game of deceit is easier to play with those who are most vulnerable, like widows or recent divorcees who are all particularly vulnerable to this type of manipulation of the heart. And it is not gender specific either; both men and women are equally targeted.

Unlike our everyday scammers, these toads come into your life and make themselves known. They aren’t from some West African country. They are right here; expert conmen. These toads enter your life and become so entrenched you just can’t live without them. Funnily enough, its family and friends who can sniff them out while you are too busy looking through rose coloured glasses making excuses to help them out and you don’t want to know or accept what’s really happening.

These toads are looking for a life on easy street. Most have nothing, no savings, no property, and no plans, that is; no plans until they meet you.

Fortunately, some women wake up to what’s happening before their life savings have dried up, but for others; once he has access to your super or any other funds you have, he either helps himself to whatever he can, then disappears, or makes your life hell and things end up in a courtroom with him making a de facto property claim.

Be careful! You have worked so hard to build your superannuation nest egg. This money was to see you through the rest of your life and it can be gone in an instant.

Always question why that someone has come into your life. Do your homework. Ask yourself, what does a 38-year-old male really want with a 58-year-old me? Talking to him about his future plans is always a good start. Does he have a job? Who does he work for? What contribution is he making to this relationship? You need to know the answers to all of these questions. Check his Facebook page, meet his mates and don’t give him access to your bank accounts; most importantly, listen to your friends and family as they are protecting you.

And watch for tadpoles and toadlets

Do we call little toads tadpoles? Toadlets are the little boys, 17 to 19 in age, who are playing on a dating site either for the fun of it, to get a laugh at your expense or thinking they can find their own Mrs Robinson and score with an older woman.

Who knows what they really see in it? These toadlets stand out a mile, their messages, the words they use, poor spelling and grammar. You know them when you see their messages or they might respond to a message you have sent.

The first message I got from a toadlet was well written. There was no photo of him on his profile page. He had sent me a nice hello message telling me he had read my profile; yada, yada, yada; would I like to meet up? Somewhere in the yadas I could determine that he was just a boy, but the devil in me decided two could play this game.

After establishing he was in his first year at uni, lived at home with his mother and father, I then asked him why he was on an over 50s dating site. He smugly responded by telling me he wanted to know what it was like to be with an older woman. A smiley emoticon followed this. Here I did what any responsible mother would do. I asked him for his mother’s phone number. On asking me why, I told him I wanted to share our discussion with his mother so she could see what her toadlet (oops!) little boy was up to. As you can probably guess; the conversation was over and I didn’t hear from him again.

I got a few more odd messages from toadlets after this boy, but decided not to waste my time and energy on them.

Online dating with the book Kissing Toads

Kissing Toads isn’t about what you must do; it’s about issues you might want to think about and build on from what Julie has learned as she bumbled through the world of internet dating.

She has some clear messages on topics that should be important to all of us; prioritising your safety, the importance of your self-worth and emotional wellbeing, and learning from your experiences (the good and the bad).

The go-to dating guide covers:

  • Where do I start?
  • Are there any rules?
  • What do I put in a profile?
  •  How do I know he is genuine?
  • What does a scammer look like?
  •  How do I know what I’m looking for?

All of these questions and more are covered in this go-to dating guide!

Julie’s book 'Kissing Toads' is available from her website for $29.95. Learn more about the red flags, scammers and friendships that arise in the new dating world.

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