Online Dating Scams: Are You a Potential Victim?
The Online Dating Craze
In recent years and with the expansion of the Internet, almost anything is right at your fingertips. In today’s world there are no limitations to what can be found on the Internet. Dating has also been put on the table as far as being available online. So finding a mate has become very easy for most. To spread out the playing field so to say, there are many sites to choose from. They all claim to offer unique services to their members as a marketing strategy. So it is very important to find a site that fits your needs and desires. Some of the most common and most advertised sites include:
- Christian’s Mingle
The choices in a partner or hook-up are becoming endless. I have heard of success stories, but buyers beware of the not so successful stories.
The Popularity Of Online Dating
Alternate dating platforms have boosted in recent years in terms of attractiveness. That is why most sites try to market to a particular crowd. I am sure you have seen the commercials – especially that one that “helps farmers meet.” Some of the ads can be quite entertaining. So one might ask why is online dating appealing?
Well to begin online dating removes some of those “awkward firsts.” Such as first glance, first handshake or hug, even a first kiss from someone you hardly know. That is the trick that makes online dating appealing. It helps to buffer awkward moments for people who are shy or socially awkward. One has the opportunity to learn about a person via technology before they ever set eyes on them. Those that are socially awkward or have social anxiety feel a reduction in those symptoms when physical contact is limited or removed.
Dating has never been an easy process and can be flat out awkward. Though, trends and research are showing that online dating is especially enticing for those with social anxiety. Meeting someone online can really reduce a person’s level of anxiety until they reach a point where the courage can be mustered up to meet.
Catfish The Television Show
It is apparent that online scams are on the rise. Dating has not been so lucky to dodge those scams. Since the overwhelming amount of dating scams a popular television show emerged to help people that are potentially scammed to find the truth. The show “Catfish” which airs on MTV is a reality show that depicts specifically the misconceptions of online dating. The storyline developed as a result of one of the creators experience being “Catfished.” Nev Schulman coined the term as he was duped in an online relationship. His passion became exposing others in like situations. Not all online dating relationships will end like the show, however, Nev found it to be helpful in exposing such fallacies. This show really illustrates how the internet has opened a whole arena of deceitful behaviors.
Getting to the Point – What are Some Warning Signs
Not an open and shut case. Dating is very complicated and online dating has some of its own unique problems. Bringing back the mentioned term “catfish,” which ironically is not used to describe a mouthwatering fish. However, it does depict being hooked by deceit and the intentional deception by another person. So some of the warning signs I have came across through my own research:
- The person will only talk on the phone, no video chatting
- The person will only chat online or text, will not allow you to hear their voice
- The person does not give you a phone number to call them, you must wait for their calls
- Despite planning the person continually avoids meeting in person
- The person will not give you their full name or address – after online dating for some time, maybe a few weeks
- Declines calls from you during certain hours of the day or night without a reasonable explanation
- You know very little about them despite sharing your personal information
- They are asking for financial support or "need to get out of a fix" - even before you have met in person
What Are They Hiding
By looking over the warning signs above it is apparent that a person who engages in those behaviors are hiding something. But what? Well think about it, the internet knows no limits. As found on the Catfish show, a person can download a picture of a random person and use that as their profile picture. In an instant a person can finally become exactly who they always wanted to be. Maybe they want to be thinner, blonder or with bigger muscles. In a few clicks they become that. How enticing is that you might ask? For many it is what leads them to this false online persona that eventually draws in another person and has potential devastating results. For some that is the only attention they have ever received, to be someone else. Not looking to hurt anyone in particular but so fulfilled to finally have some personal, deceitful attention.
Online dating opens the possibility for match making and lasting relationships. It also can be a place where people hook up. Online dating is an Internet platform intended to allow people to meet. Though as with any new relationship, a courtship period affords two people to get to know each other. That is intended to take place in person as a way to eliminate fantasy. Otherwise, if the entire relationship is online and/or on the phone, you become that fantasy and the relationship is created in your own mind. That is how “Catfish” daters work. They entice you into believing the best fantasies your mind can create and they build this facetious relationship from your own fantasy. So despite dating a person for a year if this is done only online, you have created a fantasy relationship. That relationship is based upon whatever one has told the other. By dating in person it may reduce the amount of deceit a person can pull over your eyes. Not entirely true or foolproof but dating in person does allow the other person to piece things together.
What is a Healthy Online Dating Relationship
A healthy relationship is built on the premise of trust and two people coming together to complement but not to complete each other. What complementing each other specifically means is the relationship should not fulfill a need that you have in your life such as safety or security but rather the hope of having companionship. A healthy relationship can endure separation – either physical or emotional so that each party can enjoy self-care and independence. Being alone is part of a relationship, however, being lonely is not part of a healthy relationship. Before indulging into dating make a list of desired qualities of the other person as a guide to seek out the right person for you. Do not discount yourself and take anything that comes your way – that is a big red flag some emotional healing may be in order before you are ready for a relationship – if you want it to be healthy.
Do not lead with your heart but with your head. If your friends are warning against this new found love, evaluate it. Is the relationship your fantasy of a “perfect relationship” despite the absence of normal relationship milestones. Remember if you have not met the person after dating online for about 6 months it may be time to reevaluate this connection to that person. Finally, if it looks like a fish, smells like a fish, then likely it is a fish. Don’t’ be the next Catfish!!
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