Most of us are aware of the dangers of email phishing and other scams that await the unwary. On Episode 21 of the Seniortopia Show, we talk with Jules Hannaford, author and podcaster (Fool Me Twice) who shares her own harrowing story of losing thousands of dollars to an online dating scammer.

On the show, Jules gives lots of tips on how to date safely online. She advises doing reverse image searches to check if the person you are corresponding with is using a photo that belongs to someone with a different name. She warns that men with two first names, like Jonathan Harrison, could be scammers. Other red flags include men who conveniently can’t manage to FaceTime with you or men with jobs that require them to travel a lot. And if you are going to meet someone in real life for the first time, meet in a public place and bring friends with you or at the very least make sure someone knows where you are going.

We thought we’d add a few more tips to Jules’ list in order to cover some of the non-dating scams that are so prevalent nowadays (thanks to scambusters and AARP for these tips.

  • Never follow a link in an email, even one you have to manually type in, that you aren’t sure about, and never provide confidential information unless you see the “s” in the “https” part of the address line and/or a padlock icon in your browser
  • If someone comes to your door saying they are an official from the water company or similar, ask them for their ID and check it out carefully, and don’t let them pressure you into buying anything
  • Don’t use *72 or any other code to forward phone calls to a number you don’t know
  • Don’t buy any services from a company when you did not initiate the contact. Microsoft, Apple, etc will not make unsolicited calls to sell you services.
  • Don’t answer calls from unknown numbers or return one-ring calls from unknown numbers
  • Don’t make payments by gift card, prepaid debit card or wire transfer

Most of all, Jules and other experts warn you to never, ever, EVER give money to someone you met online.