It should go without saying that there are inherent risks that accompany on-line dating. However, in our electronic age, this practice has become quite acceptable and commonplace. I know many people who have met their very decent significant others on dating sites. Regardless, it is always a good idea to be cautious.
A few years ago, I decided to try a popular site. I was busy juggling parenting, fighting court battles, attending graduate school, and working. Dating was not a priority, but I thought I’d give it a whirl. It wasn’t long before I was matched with the individual I just broke it off with! Initially, I was confused, because while we were together, it did not seem he needed “help” in this area. The nature of his work took him away from home and allowed him to meet a variety of women. However, apparently, he was in between love interests, or simply trolling for a “better” one. Thus, the profile.
After being matched with, and promptly blocking him, I thought about the futures of the women he might meet who were doing nothing more than searching for a “good guy” like the rest of us. Then, I considered the types of people I was being matched with on the site. Most were probably fine, but I couldn’t help but think about the less than stellar experiences I was having. I couldn’t help but think about the super nice guy who claimed to be 5’11”, but was really 5’1″. Now, I don’t care about a guy’s height, but did he really think I wouldn’t notice 10 “missing” inches? All it caused me to do was wonder about what other lies he told. On another occasion, I began “communicating” with someone who turned out to know one of my friends. Her words of warning played over and over in my mind, and the red flags were, in fact, everywhere. Further involvement with him would have probably yielded nothing more than a “repeat performance” of what I already lived through. On another occasion, I was matched with a local person, who was actually married, in spite of his self proclaimed single status on the site. What if I had not already known who he was and became involved?
After a few disastrous dates and then a few others that were simply just not matches, I decided that I needed to meet people the old fashioned way. Nonetheless, on-line dating remains quite popular and a great option for many. However, anyone who ventures out into this environment must be careful. While it can be an excellent way to meet others, it can also be a smorgasbord for the ill intended.
The problems have become so common that the term catfish is now a noun with a new meaning. Essentially, it is used to describe an individual who has created a fake on line profile with the intent of deceiving others. MTV now has a reality show by that title, which chronicles the stories of many who have fallen in love on-line, only to learn the truth (or lies) about their other halves. Entertainment aside, even the FBI acknowledges the potential hazards. Cyber dating has created some unique challenges.
Below, I provide the link for the FBI warning. The fact that they have chosen to address this issue is good indicator that the problem is more widespread than many might think, even if we are fairly more aware than most. Their suggestions may seem like common sense suggestions, but we know how convincing these individuals can be. Often, their strange stories are plausible enough for us to believe. Therefore, it is critical that we move forward with caution. Hopefully, these reminders help us all!
Looking for love? Beware of online dating scams, on FBI.gov.