Cyber Dating? Maybe…if you can weed out the toads….

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Internet dating is a fad these days. Just about every single person over 25 has considered it, because the world is full of losers. Think about the people you know who are single. Most are not your type. So, Internet dating seems to be a way to cut to the chase, and find people who are compatible to your lifestyle and maybe find “the one.” However, you need to be aware that most of the people on Internet dating sites are also losers, and in addition to that, you will find a huge proportion of scammers. The scammers include people who pose as eligible bachelors or bachelorettes who are really a group of people working off shore, mostly in Western Africa, preying on unsuspecting singles who are looking for someone and desperate to find their fantasy person.

These low-lifes pretend to be your perfect man/woman, and then go into for the kill, asking for money or in some cases, for packages to be delivered to a third party. I am fortunate to not fall into the hands of such prey, but I have been contacted by more than one of them. How can you tell? Well, here are some things I have learned to protect myself. First, set up a dummy email account with gmail or yahoo, that does not identify who you are. Then, when you are contacted by a person on a dating site, refer them to that email so they can send you an email there. Then go to the “raw source” of that email, copy and paste the entire email, and then check its origin using this site:

http://whatismyipaddress.com/trace-email

The first email you get from them may be “cloaked,” meaning they are using a proxy site, most likely with a Chicago IP address. But this costs them money, and subsequent emails will be most likely true to their location. This is often Ghana, Nigeria, or somewhere in Eastern Europe. If this happens, just stop all contact. Whatever you do, never give your phone number or real email address to anyone on a dating site until you have met them in person and you know them. And, even then, you are not totally safe.

Some people are just playing games with you. I knew one man, for example, who admitted he was playing games with women on the site. The news reporter in me got him to talking, and he told me of instances where he actually met the women and then told them lies about himself to get them upset. One time he had a woman fly all the way from another state, only to tell her, when she landed, that he was a bank robber. The poor thing hid in the airport restroom until he left, and later wrote him and told him she flew back home, because she was afraid of being arrested as his accomplice. He actually thought this was funny.

But unfortunately, even when a legitimate person is found on these sites, they are often flawed human beings who have so much baggage, you should run. How can you tell? First, get to know them via your fake email and talk to them about things to feel them out. Anyone who has a long list of dislikes and seems to have an ax to grind is not for you. Also, anyone who is hung up on his ex, or is looking for a replacement for his late wife is best avoided. With any luck, you will find someone, but it is like looking for a needle in a haystack. But it beats going to bars. My mother says a person should attend church to find a mate. Ha! For me that would be the worst place. Also, casinos. You can find friends there, but unfortunately, few dating prospects.

Another thing about Internet dating is, no matter what your interest, there is a site for you. But it costs money to get on the good ones. Typically, $30 a month. I’m not going to list those sites. If you are interested in dating on the Internet, do a Google search. But remember an old adage: “You have to kiss a lot of toads before you find your Prince!” So true. As for me, I’m not cruising the sites anymore. I found them depressing after awhile. I did find some people who ended up being good friends. The others are all catch and release. So go ahead, do it if you want to. But do not throw your caution to the wind. You are actually in more danger on the Internet than you are in a dark alley at midnight. So you have to play smart.

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