The Dangers Of Online Dating

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All sociopaths are different. Some wait for the perfect prey, others simply target someone that has previously been victimised and is vulnerable, or lonely.

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If you have been through a rough time before, and seek to find another relationship to feel better, to get over the hurt and pain of the last one. STOP!!! Take a step back, as you are the perfect target for a sociopath.
Online dating is a perfect place for meeting a sociopath. Remember the four things that sociopaths do:
• Assessment
• Seduction
• Gaming
• Ruining
Making the assessment stage easy
Online dating, is for the sociopath, easy pickings. After all, what difficulty is there in the assessment if you have already told him everything about you in your profile? You’ve said what you want and what you don’t want. There ARE sociopaths who will rewrite their own profile to match yours. To seem like the perfect man. You are looking for a soulmate. Your perfect match. Who better to be that perfect match than a sociopath?
Of course, not all people on online dating sites are predators, or sociopaths. But, realistically, it is the most obvious place to meet one. There is no face to face contact. They can seduce you by email, move to phone quickly, love bomb you, and ensure that your profile is quickly taken off.
Relationship moves quickly
Once he has found his prey online. Once, he has assessed you, that you are right for him, and his needs, and that you will fulfill his need for supply. A sociopath doesn’t like competition. He will tell you he’s closed his dating account because you’re special. This will make you feel obliged to remove yours. You might not have decided on him. You might have numerous mail from other people. But he wants to ensure that you are his, and only his. So he tells you that he’s decided that you’re so special, that he has removed his own profile. His motive, is not because you are so special. His motive, is to take you off the market.
Quick intimacy
He will ask for your number, and your social networking details. He will say something like “There are lots of other photos of me on there”, or “I have real friends and family on there” With Facebook, he can glean even further information from you; making his work of assessment easy. He can then quickly move onto the seduction stage. You will feel swept off of your feet, and your head – spinning, you feel sure that you have met someone very special, you believe that you have met a real true soul mate and have made a connection (fancy the chances huh?)
Keep yourself safe online
Keep your correspondence online – until you are sure. Do not move to other social networking pages or anywhere that gives further information about you, before you are ready; otherwise, you could find yourself thinking you have fallen in love with someone before you have even met.

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Ask yourself these questions
• Is this moving fast
• Has he asked for phone number, social networking, keen to meet up before you are ready?
• Does he seem to have so much in common with you?
• Is his profile almost a mirror image of your own?
• Does he seem to say virtually nothing wrong?
• Does it feel like you have known him for a lifetime, perhaps many lifetimes?
• Is he exactly what you have listed in your profile, a perfect match for you?
• When you meet does he seem EXACTLY (in terms of personality) the same as he was online?
• Does he try to stay over at yours when you meet?
If the answer to any of the above is yes, then proceed with caution, you could have met a sociopath.
With as many as 40 million single Americans using online dating services or web-networking sites such as MySpace to look for love, it would seem that there has never been an easier time to find a soulmate online. But experts, law enforcement officials and private investigators warn that the world of internet romance is fraught with peril, ranging from liars to sexual predators and even murderers, who hide their motives behind seemingly innocuous virtual identities. “When we pushed for more stringent background checks on online dating sites, one company told us the idea of asking for disclosure was creepy,” said Bill Noble, the director of the Safer Online Dating Alliance. “But what is actually creepy is having these creeps on your site.” The numbers are worrisome – and horror stories abound. Sometime back, MySpace was forced to cancel 90,000 accounts on its site that authorities revealed were linked to registered sex offenders. It was a fraction of the 130 million users of the site, but a significant percentage of the more than one million registered sex offenders in the United States.
Sometime back, a Boston medical student, Philip Markoff, dubbed the “Craigslist killer” by the media, was arrested and charged with murdering a masseuse who advertised on the popular website’s erotic services section. Two months later Craigslist was hit with another scandal when it emerged that a North Carolina man used the site to hire a man to rape his wife while the husband watched. Bill Warner, a Florida private investigator who offers on his website to “sort out the winners from the losers” for a flat fee of US$169, says running background checks on potential internet dates now constitutes more than 50 per cent of his business.

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“Usually the problem is that the man is married or he turns out to be one of these crazy stalker people that follows a woman for months,” he said in a telephone interview. In many cases, Mr Warner said he would discover that men had joined a site using a false name, a prepaid, throwaway cell phone and a phoney e-mail address from free services such as Yahoo or Hotmail. “There are a lot of people out there who get jazzed up by disguising themselves,” he said, adding that nearly 100 per cent of his cases involved women being victimised by men.
Industry experts say the website True.com is unique in the field for warning on its home page that criminals and married men who come hunting “will be sorry if they do”. The site recently sued a convicted sex offender in California who tried to register himself as an eligible bachelor. But True.com is one of the few online dating websites to actually run background checks on its members, even though a recent survey found that a majority of people visiting online dating sites believed that most did.
“It’s shameful because it lulls women into a false sense of security,” said Mr Warner. “You get young naive women or the over-50 year olds who are recently divorced, they are often excited about meeting a new man and they make easy prey.” In some instances, the first date ends in violence. One time, for example, police in Minnesota charged a 39-year-old man with raping a woman he met through the internet, after he slipped drugs into her drink that caused her to pass out.
In other cases, the motive is financial. Police in Tampa, Florida last January arrested a Tennessee man who was wanted for swindling a woman he met online out of tens of thousands of dollars and leasing a Mercedes in her name that he wrecked, leaving her with more than $60,000 in liabilities. There are stories that are even more sinister. The Safer Online Dating Alliance warns women on its website never to post photos of their children, nor to describe them in detail, saying that single mothers who openly say they seek partners who like children have inadvertently attracted paedophiles.
Although it is less common, men have also been victimised, usually by other men who are posing as women. Law enforcement officials and advocacy groups say they are not trying to shut down the online networking world, but to teach people how to navigate it safely. “A lot of couples have found each other on the internet and not everyone is a predator,” Mr Noble said. “But it is also possible to develop a false sense of familiarity with someone you have only met on chat sites and through picture exchanges. But at the end of the day you have not met the person. Whereas meeting in a bar, you might immediately feel the hair on the back of your neck stand up, with internet dating you have let your guard down by the time you interact face to face.”
After four years of dating as a 50-plus single, Sue Barenholtz knows what she’s looking for in a companion.
“I have a list of things I must have before I even consider going out with a man,” says Barenholtz, who runs a Phoenix-based social community for Baby Boomer women. “I share these with my friends, and I’m always surprised that very intelligent women just go on a leap of faith.”
It’s not unusual for daters to consider what they hope to find in a love interest. However, Barenholtz, who takes precautions to protect her personal information and more, has the sort of savvy daters need when it comes to relationships these days. Increasingly, relationships begin online. The number of online dating sites has exploded, and so has the number of scammers trying to target your personal information.
Be Aware of Internet Dating Red Flags
As with most online activities, crowds of legitimate users are interspersed with con artists who are eager to capitalize on an opportunity to scam victims out of cash and personal information. Jennifer Litwin, a lifestyle reporter for several TV news outlets, uncovered some alarming statistics during undercover work on an online dating investigation. She paid for online background checks and discovered that on one reputable online site, eight out of 10 men had lied on their resumes.
Barenholtz, Litwin and relationship and security experts say you should note these Internet dating red flags:
• Limited availability. Is the person available only during certain times or certain days for online conversation or calls? Be concerned if “they can’t arrange their schedule or find the time to meet you,” cautions Toni Coleman, a psychotherapist and dating/relationship coach (Consum-Mate.com). “They are always away, working overtime or dealing with personal issues they can’t take a break from.”
• Offers limited or conflicting information. “I won’t go out with a guy unless he gives me his full name and phone number,” says Barenholtz. “I’ve had some who won’t, and I won’t go out with them. I made my friend do this recently. She had been out with a guy two to three times and still didn’t get his last name. I told her I would not let her go out with him again until she got it. She told the guy, and he asked if she was going to look him up. When she said yes, he refused, and my girlfriend finally realized there might be something wrong.”
• Sounds too good to be true. In that case, says Coleman, “they usually are.”
• Talks about money. “Discussion of money or loans in any capacity is a red flag,” says security expert Robert Siciliano. Watch out for scammers who ask for financial help to purchase transportation in order to have your first offline meeting, advises Coleman. If a potential date asks for money, report that person to the online dating community.
• Wants to move too quickly. Whirlwind romances might sound romantic, but they pose a threat to your financial and personal security when it comes to online dating. Be wary of potential companions ready to sweep you off your feet and profess their undying love after just a few online conversations. Also be cautious of those who quickly want to take conversations to an email or messaging service outside the online dating site.
Smart Steps to Protect Yourself Against Internet Dating Dangers
You can take a number of steps to protect yourself when you pursue love online. Experts offer these tips:
• Stick with reputable sites. Read reviews and check with friends. Thoroughly check out a site before posting a profile. It’s a good idea to read the security tips that some sites offer. For instance, Match.com’s checklist can be found at Match.com/Help/SafetyTips.aspx.
• Protect your personal information. Identity thieves attempt to harvest personal details such as your address, phone number and more. Remember that seemingly insignificant information, such as your pet’s name, might help someone discover your passwords. (Tip: Make your passwords stronger than that!) Don’t post your complete name on a profile; use a nickname or alias. Create a dedicated email account that you use solely for online dating.
• Conduct online searches. Simply typing a potential companion’s name into a Web browser can tell you a lot. If you can’t find anything on the person, cancel the date, warns Barenholtz. Be willing to read past the first few pages, conducting deeper research, she says.
• Pay for a background check. You’ll find initial background checks quite reasonable, says Litwin. “To do a more complete background search on any one person you want to date exclusively may be prudent, based on our research of the different men,” she notes.
• Follow smart tech security practices. For instance, be wary of scammers who attempt to direct you to look-alike dating sites. Click on the wrong link, and you could be downloading malware that records your sensitive information. Never click on links in emails or messages. Don’t sign on to your dating profiles from public computers. And keep your security software updated.
While it is indeed exhilarating to find new love, it’s best to keep your wits about you when pursuing Internet dating, caution experts. “Don’t let your heart get in the way of basic common sense,” says Siciliano.

My post is also published here on Cozzy Magazine

 

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