It seems that there are more negative aspects about the world of online dating, rather than positives such as making a long-life connection with someone. News headlines are now more than ever reporting on catfish scams which are slowly filling up dating websites across the world. Online dating can open up a new world and connect you to potential matches that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to link with due to geographic proximity. Rather, be aware of the signs if something just doesn’t seem right, and remember to always protect yourself.
These scams are generally made to lure vulnerable people in through means of sweet talking, to give the scammer whatever they desire. Think large sums of money, and time, both of which you can never get back from these people. Most popular are the Nigerian ‘419 scams’ whereby the main objective is to seduce, use and fraud someone into sending large sums of cash over the internet for an even larger return. Seems rather impossible doesn’t it? These scammers prey on the older and more vulnerable members of society, and scams can go on for months or even years.
If someone has ever asked you for large sums of money, or for any sum of many for that matter, shut down the conversation as fast as you can.
Chatting and online dating often invite a larger level of intimacy since you could be talking for many hours a day. Make sure to keep your correspondence strictly online, until you are sure that this person is the real deal. It’s best not to hand out a strong of social media accounts such as Twitter, and befriend each other on Facebook at this stage. Ask yourself if this is moving too fast, and generally make sure to tell a close friend about what is going on. If you’re too embarrassed to confide in a friend, maybe the intimacy is stepping over the mark a little. If you’re still interested, just wind it back and firstly try to befriend this person and build a friendship. A relationship can always follow.
No ‘real’ connection?
Many people are highly against purely online dating since you lack the genuine connection you might have with ‘the one’ when you meet them. First dates generally are the best ways to realise if you have a connection or basis of a friendship with this person, and if it’s the right thing to pursue it any further. Online dating is more calculated, where each party will only display a version of themselves they would like the other to see. Lying and manipulating are more common in this area, since they are more difficult to pick-up online.
- Be cautious and remember that although you might be pouring your heart out, you will never really be sure the the person on the other side is being truthful about who they are.
- If you feel a genuine connection based on similar personality traits, goals and aspirations, suggest a highly populated place to meet up, (such as a coffee shop). Be sure to tell a close friend if you have intentions to meet up, just in case it goes sour.
- Back away if anyone asks you for money, or gives some soap-opera story line about not being able to meet. If they sound too good to be true, they probably are.
Image via Libby Fordham
By Felicia Sapountzis