Dating is a salubrious experience, and I believe, everyone has the right to go through it! In this context, I would rather say that people have the right to fall in love, not just once, but a multiple number of times. Sounds heavenly, right?
In fact, many people tend to look for suitable life partners, and hence, go scooting around the city pubs, night clubs, bars, and restaurants to meet new people. There are others, however, who wish to meet their “dream lovers” on the net considering it to be a safe bet. A lot of people are lucky enough to meet their ideal partners through the various social media platforms, and dating sites, consequently ending up in happy marriages. The others, however, aren’t so fortunate! Where do things go wrong?
Here is a caveat for you guys! While many men, and women are apprehensive about meeting new people offline, considering the possible perils entailed under such circumstances, online dating could result in throes of anxiety and distress. What could be the reason behind this?
The wise have stated- “All that glitters is not gold.” This holds true in many instances of online dating. You might have genuine feelings for someone, whereas it could be a different story altogether on the other side. Who knows! The person chatting with you from the other side could be a complete imposter after all!
In fact, dating sites, and social media have become game for numerous fraudsters, scammers, spammers, Ipredators, sociopaths, psychopaths and other cyber criminals who keep trolling the networking sites in search of their potential victims.
Researchers state that a large number of men, and women fall prey to these tricksters who indulge in catfishing with various malafide intents. Though a considerable number of men get conned by these tricksters, most of the victims are women. While offline dating could lead to certain pitfalls, online dating is a complete minefield!
So, you need to play your cards really well while choosing to date someone online! To avoid cyber-bullying, you need to be aware of the modus operandi used almost by all the con artists:
Why and how these con men operate:
- Scammers and Spammers: These people mostly target the loners, especially divorcees, widowers, widows, single parents and disabled. Their motive is to target vulnerable people, befriend them, and slowly victimize them. These con artists create fake profiles by pirating through the net, and lifting photos of other people from different websites. So, if you get a friendship request from someone looking like a hunk, or an overly sexy looking female, then better watch out! You are very likely to fall into the dragnet of a romance scammer!
If a person half your age professes love for you, then consider it as a red flag! Such scammers pretend to be West European, or American men who keep traveling on business. In fact, they try to lure their targets by professing love towards them. Also, they indulge in wanton chats, and request their victims to perform some sexual acts on the web cam. For some reason or the other, their own webcams always remain dysfunctional. They ask the victims to share their photos online, and in return, send pictures, which are not their own. Most of these scammers operate from countries such as Nigeria, Ghana, The Ivory Coast, Russia and other countries. They use fake profiles for cat fishing purpose, and finally extort money from their victims by feigning some kind of emergency situation. If you try to rescue them from their financial crisis, they ask you for more. They seem to have unending number of bills, or debts piling up! In case, you get frustrated, and stop paying them further, they resort to abusive language and blackmail at times. In such trying cases, they might threaten you about sharing your personal videos with your friends and relatives.
Sometimes, your fancy suitor might forward you a few links, or phishing emails. Beware! Your phone, or computer would get infected by malware, or your device would be hacked! You are being targeted by a spammer!
- Predators and Psychopaths: Online predators and psychopaths are always on the prowl in search of victims, especially single women, widows and single mothers. They try to befriend their targets, and pretend to fall in love within a few hours of knowing their victims. O ladies! Just be careful! You could be dealing with a con artist, or sex predator intending to harm you in the end. In fact, a person indulging in sweet talks could be a paedophile who solely wishes to gain access to your kids. Be careful, and don’t give out your personal phone number and home address. Once these people get your address, it becomes very easy for them to trace your location. In the US, a person’s address could be traced through the whitepapers. The person just needs to know your name! So, just think twice before giving out your name to a stranger. Many cases of thefts, vandalism, molestation, kidnappings, rapes and murders are reported every year. Kids go missing, and are sexually abused. Most of these cases seem to stem from online dating where people fall preys to Ipredators. Often, single moms unknowingly end up marrying paedophiles who are after their kids. Well, this also reminds me of Vladamir Nabokov’s Lolita, a classic novel, which cites Humbert Humbert, a middle-aged professor taking fancy towards a Dolores Haze, a 12-year old. He courted the child’s mother, and married her, only to come sexually close to her. So, beware ladies! Paedophiles have been existing since ages. They exist even now! They exist everywhere!
- Gamers: I might sound a bit racist in this aspect, but several women are victimized by gamers every year. Most of the men from the west have fetish for the women of Asian origin, and hence befriend them on reputed social media platforms by making false promises of love. They pose as bachelors, or divorcees who have plans for traveling to Asian countries on business. In reality, they are married men who leave behind their families, and travel abroad on short term, or long term projects. They need “good companions” during their stay. Many cases are reported, in which these men get connected to the petite looking Asian women, before visiting their place, seduce them by making false promises of marriage, and later vanish.
How to identify the con artists:
- They mostly pose as West European, or American men who keep traveling overseas.
- Their profiles have pictures of men, or women of European descent who hail from deemed varsities in Europe and America.
- Most of these people are widowers or divorcees in search of life partners.
- Their profiles are written in English language copious with grammatical errors, though some of them are crafted with ingenuity.
- They profess undying love towards you in flattering words as soon as they meet you.
- They insist that you move to a different instant messenger outside the social media, or dating site where they have met you. This is because social media sites like Facebook are constantly vigilant about suspicious users, and could pull down their profiles any time.
- Their chats are obvious due to misspelt words and grammatical errors.
- Their words are sugar-coated, and they seem to agree with whatever you say.
- They coax you to come on the web cam, but their own web cams fail to operate due to some unknown reasons.
- They call you on the phone by using prepaid cards. You cannot trace their numbers via Google search.
- They are frequent travellers who fall victims to unprecedented emergencies such debts, accidents, hospitalization, illness and so on.
- They request you to relieve them from such distressing situations by paying up their bills. They keep milking your funds till you start suspecting their ulterior motives.
- If you question them, they become abusive.
While it’s imperative to keep oneself safe from such traps, women should also take certain precautions before meeting their online suitors. Do not forget that he is a stranger after all, and could be a threat to your personal safety. Keep these points in mind before meeting a stranger:
- Never agree to meet in a private place such as your home or hotel. Always choose to meet in a crowded café, bar or restaurant.
- Avoid revealing your bank account details, passport number, SSN to someone online. This could lead to identity theft, and your name could get embroiled in unexpected scams.
- Don’t give out your home address to your man. Decline his offer to pick you up from your residence. Travel on your own to meet him.
- Try and avoid drinks offered by him. You never know they might be laced with sedatives.
- Keep your friends, or family members posted about the place where you plan to meet this person.
- If your man decides to change the venue of your date at the last moment, just decline to meet him.
- Avoid talking about your kids to a stranger. Know him well before introducing them to your little ones.
Imposters exist everywhere, and you might never know that your online mate might be chatting with you from the next door house. It is very difficult to track them since most of them form huge nexus, and operate overseas. People need to act gingerly while interacting with strangers whom they have never met before. my aim, however, is not to dissuade people from online dating. There have been several cases of online romance, which resulted in successful marriages. Keep yourself safe, and you would surely find your “dream partner”!