There are some of us who have sought romance and love online. There’s nothing wrong with that. We are all grown-ups, we can make our own choices and decisions. There are thousands of nice, genuine people out there, just waiting to love and be loved.
Sadly, there are also many out there waiting, like patient spiders on the edge of their web of deceit, lies and manipulation. The innocent and emotionally vulnerable who land on these webs can become trapped, drained both emotionally and financially and left bereft of everything, including their self-respect and self-esteem. Not daring to trust again.
In the last ten years, online dating has grossed over two billion in revenue and is a growing, lucrative business. Offering chances for people to meet online and hopefully, face to face.
The only issue with online dating is that you don’t really know who you are talking to. It’s up to you to find out, do a little research and, if they are legitimate, pursue your romantic partner with an element of confidence.
I am not here to talk about the nice people, I am here to talk about the scammers. The “not so” nice people. The dating website spiders.
My Online Dating Experience
I too have used a dating website. This is where I met my lovely partner that I have been with for the last five years, but, it is also where a scammer crossed paths with me. Yes, I said crossed paths with me!
A potted history, my ex-husband walked out when I was in my mid-fifties and left me emotionally in pieces. I was vulnerable and needed to feel loved and wanted.
I would never have classed myself as being the “online dating type” but my ex-sister in law persuaded me to try on. She told me “It’s free. If you don’t like it, you can always leave”
So I tried it. One Thursday night I registered on a site suggested by her. Almost immediately I had likes, winks, kisses and messages.
I was flattered, excited and intrigued. I chatted to some, exchanging niceties. Then the man on the horse appeared. Resplendent in a bandana and sporting sunglasses. He said hello and told me his name was John Michael. After a while, he asked if I had instant messaging. I didn’t, but he said it would be a good idea to use it. I innocently followed his advice.
The following 48 hours were filled with chatting online. He lifted my spirits and made me feel good about myself. At the end of the second day, he told me he loved me and couldn’t live without me. He also said he was a millionaire and, although American, he was living in London. He gave me an address as well.
I am psychic and all of my senses were saying… STOP, but the vulnerable me was lapping up his every word.
I did back up a bit and stop. There was something off, not right. The address he gave me didn’t look like a London address, so I Googled it. It was a pensioners bungalow in Great Yarmouth. *ALARM*
I became very cautious and decided to go with my gut. I asked him questions, which he answered, but none of it was traceable. The big “NO” for me was when he began asking for money, which I did not have. I said why couldn’t he buy what he needed, being a millionaire. He told me he was waiting for a payment and could not access funds. I refused him and he got aggressive with me.
I won’t go into the rest of this because you can guess that he was using emotional leverage to get what he wanted and when refused, accused me of not trusting and loving him. After all “I have never lied to you Damsel” REALLY!!!!!
He would go missing for days on end with no rhyme or reason. I would get emails mentioning things we had never discussed. His excuses were flimsy.
Research Your New “Love Interest”
I dug and I dug for weeks, researching this man and discovered that he was also talking to a lady in the States who had caved in and given him money for an orphanage he was building “REALLY”!!!!
At one point he asked for my address so that he could send a shipment of parts to my house for collection. I did refuse but sometime later got a call from HM Customs saying they had a pallet of computer equipment but no address, just my phone number. I told them the whole story about John Michael and “The Scam” They asked if I wanted to assist, just once? I agreed. I had to find out where the shipment was going once it left my house. They sent approximately £500,000 worth of expensive, high-end computer hardware. The courier who picked it up left his paperwork on the floor, which I photographed and photocopied. It was going to an exporter in Hackney, London, who specializes in shipping to Nigeria.
“WOW” Customs were very very interested in that. Not only had he imported the stuff, he had put that it was a “gift” Hmmm!!!! The name he gave me and the name he gave them was not the same.
Suffice it to say, this man did not care two hoots about me. He was using me whether I wanted him to or not. HM Customs became very interested in him, as did the police in LA, Arizona, London and my local police were informed as well.
Several weeks went by and my scammer phoned me. He had the audacity to ask me why I was angry with him. After all, he had never lied.
This is a short version of all that happened to me. I now recognize the signs and can spot a scammer a million miles away.
How can you spot an online dating scammer?
- They have very detailed profiles.
- They often say they are American.
- They often tell you they have a place in the UK.
- They are either in the military, business or engineering.
- More often than not they say they are widowed.
- They tell you they are wealthy but can’t get their hands on their cash right now.
- They ask you to leave the website and message them using another program type like Yahoo messenger.
- If you ask them for selfies or other photos they can give excuses. Also, if you ask to video chat, they give excuses.
- They may ask you for money for them because of a sick relative or to help them out of a tight spot, but they always promise to pay you back.
- They become aggressive if you refuse, using emotional blackmail to get what they want.
- Despite, supposedly, being university educated, they will often be a sentence with the word “Am”
The list can go on and on.
If you are vulnerable and looking for love on the Internet, do so, by all means, but get some savvy, it can save your emotional life and your bank account as well.
I am adding some links for you to look at. Please do, they are very informative.
There are many more helpful websites out there, these are just a few.
Go out there, find love, be happy but love yourself first.
You are worthy and will find that special someone, not everyone on dating websites are bad, but sadly, some are, so tread carefully, don’t be drawn into the spider’s web and have fun.
Your motto is “Use My Savvy”, meaning, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it could be a parrot pretending to be a duck. Get it?