written by Carmelia Ray
Although online dating has been responsible for thousands of connections leading to long term relationships you also need to know the dangers of online dating. The recent story about victim Mary Kay Beckman, on Fox News highlighting her near death experience with a man she met on Match.com, has thousands of singles wondering about the dangers of online dating. Let’s explore some of the potential threats that exist on online dating sites and how to avoid being in harm’s way.
False Identities and Identity theft:
I have spoken with thousands of singles who have tried online dating as a source to find love. In some cases, they DID find love, but it was with a con artist. Deborah Nelson is one such person who later wrote a book about her experience titled “Oops…I married a con artist.” Her story is about a man who pretended to be a military officer, and he of course assumed a completely different identity. You can only imagine the trauma and nightmare Deborah experienced, including financial loss after realizing he had access to her bank accounts and personal belongings because they were married after all. In hindsight, she admits that she “trusted” him freely and ignored some telling signs of contradiction, or catching him in little white lies. She had never visited his workplace and he was vague about his past. It’s always dangerous when you listen to your heart, more than your gut and logic when you meet someone you’re extremely attracted to.
If you haven’t heard rumors and stories about “Nigerian Scam” artists, you may want to do some research. I have encountered both men and women who lost thousands of dollars sending money to someone they met online “overseas” who needed help. These profile types are professional pick up artists and online seduction artists, whose primary intent is to get you to send them money. I am personally NOT a fan of entertaining long-distance relationships, especially where it comes to online dating and NOT meeting the person face to face. These people always make up elaborate reasons WHY they can’t meet you and once they know you’ve “fallen in love” is when they will ask for your help. Don’t be fooled by a Casanova you’ve never met, or a damsel in distress. A healthy relationship is one where you’re equally bringing things to the table, and not where one is doing all the taking.
Stalkers and Violent behavior:
What I remind people using online dating, is there is really no “pre-requisite” or in person screening process when signing up to an online dating site. My rule of thumb when entering into any relationship is to take your time and not jump into things too quickly and offer too much of your personal information right away! As a parent I’m always reminding my children NOT to talk to strangers and keep a safe distance from people they don’t know. As an adult I would offer the same advice to my friends dating online. Your safety and protection of your private information should always be your top priority. Don’t get caught up in the “honeymoon” phase only to regret it later. If someone you are dating displays signs of aggression, anger, violence, makes threats, acts irrationally in the courting phase, I would definitely advise you to let someone know right away, file a report on this person, block, delete and don’t look back.
Match.com’s response to Beckman making this statement, “One in five are part of an attempted murder or one in five are killed” is this :
“The many millions of people who have found love on Match.com and other online dating sites know how fulfilling it is,” the statement read. “And while that doesn’t make what happened in this case any less awful, this is about a sick, twisted individual with no prior criminal record, not an entire community of men and women looking to meet each other.” Match.com
I hope you recognize the dangers of online dating; but also realize those dangers are PRESENT “OFFLINE” as well. It’s not the online dating site to blame when things like this happen. Unfortunately there are bad people out there. You need to protect yourself to avoid these types, and recognize when you may have met someone you need to be wary of. Make safety your first priority, and don’t be fooled when you get struck by the love bug.