The world has changed.
Chances are, if you’re single and under 50, you’re probably on a dating or social media site, hoping you might meet “the one”.
Gone are the days when the most likely place you would meet your partner was the local pub – and friends arranging blind dates for their friends are undoubtedly considered very old-fashioned these days.
We’re so entrenched in electronic life that finding love is big business for the dot com era — and manna from heaven for serial fantasists, con artists, sex offenders and organized criminals.
You’re more likely to slip than fall into the arms of your one true love, but the active search for your soul mate should come with its own warning of danger.
The dangers of modern dating are such that you can be anyone you want behind a screen – and someone will almost always believe you. Want to meet a multi-millionaire with a fast-paced lifestyle? You got it.
Hardworking but loyal office worker looking for a nice partner to settle down with? It’s pie. Humble, loving and trustworthy music lover looking for a similar long-term relationship?
Search almost anything from all walks of life and you’ll find it somewhere online.
The ideal partner exists, you just have to search.
But beware, has your “ideal partner” already gleaned all the information he can about you from social networks and search engines and does he know your color, your group, your holidays, etc.? favorite?
Is your ideal partner looking for vulnerabilities – you’re widowed, divorced, your last cheated partner – and honing the skills to be the complete opposite of what you’ve already been?
Lisa (pseudonym) tells me she met her perfect man through Bumble.
Still recovering from a bad breakup, she joined the dating app hoping to meet someone for some unconditional fun.
“I was curious. I had never been on a dating site before and I’m not a stupid person at all,” she said.
“I don’t trust easily, so when a message came from a guy, my first instinct was to run for the hills, but he was gorgeous.
“My curiosity was well and truly piqued. We exchanged messages for weeks and I found myself, even at work, checking my phone to see if he had messaged me and always got a little chill when I saw his name.
“We exchanged private details, photos, stories from our past and present and I was so caught up in the ‘romance’ that I kept thinking for a minute that ‘Ian’ didn’t exist. .
“He talked about the streets in my hometown where he said he was from and it was plausible.
“We made an appointment, then he said he had been called on business. The next time his mother was sick and so on.
“He sent me flowers and small gifts. It lasted a good two months and then he asked me for money.
“His landlord had evicted him and he needed a deposit for an apartment and could only find half of it. I didn’t want to leave him homeless.”
Ian turned out to be an impostor – a friend of Lisa’s had become a suspect and became a detective.
The photo Ian was using was taken from an American website and the phone number he used was just a disposable SIM card.
Lisa had been caught up in a romance fraud – and was so ashamed of falling for the trap that she didn’t report it to the police.
“There’s no way I’m showing the messages to the police, it’s a chapter in my life that I want to forget,” she said.
Love fraud is a particularly cruel crime – it catches people of all ages, all social classes and affects not only emotional stability but also finances.
It can totally destabilize people and leave scars as deep as those of victims who have suffered physical abuse.
This is wrong and we can only hope that people can overcome their embarrassment and shame and report them to the authorities.
Scammers will always push around – daters just need to get smarter.
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