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How online dating hurts you

How online dating hurts you

 

By Tare Youdeowei

With the coming of the internet came the good, bad and ugly. There have been successful businesses, lasting relationships and even beautiful marriages that sprung from the internet. There have also been serial rape cases, serial killing, theft, scams and plain evil which sprung from the internet.

These issues are all over the world, like the murder and dismemberment of Ingrid Lyne, a 40-year-old Seattle-area mother of three. Closer to home are the cases of late Cynthia Osokogu, the only daughter of General Frank Osokogu (rtd), who was lured by Facebook friends to Lagos, drugged and killed in 2102 and a manager in Shell Development Petroleum Company (SDPC) Nigeria and a businessman were killed in Rivers State by fraudsters impersonating as women on a dating site in 2014.

Hence, our focus today on Glam Tech is enlightening Nigerians on the dangers that can arise from online dating and most importantly, equip us with a knowledge of how to stay safe while meeting people and possibly starting relations with persons met via the internet.

Nick Tsinonis, co-founder of Scamalytics, which creates software designed to prevent scammers from targeting people on online dating sites;

1) Keep chats restricted to the website or app: “It’s really important to keep all dialogue restricted to the messaging services on the website. If you keep conversations strictly on the site scammers are unlikely to target you, because they know the dating site will detect their behaviour.”

Background check: 2) Block anyone suspicious: “On the dating site users’ behavior can be monitored, so if someone becomes abusive or inappropriate, the site can respond accordingly. You also have the ability to block someone on a dating site messaging system.”

3) Take time to get to know someone before meeting: “When you meet someone you can quickly feel like you know them really well, because it’s often easier to connect in writing and to read more into the written word than the spoken word. This can mean you rush into things, and relationships may move quicker than you expect. Always bear in mind that the other person is a stranger. Take your time to really get to know someone, and ensure he or she is who they say they are.”

4) Research them online: “Don’t be afraid to research someone you meet online. Use Google Images to check whether the photos they are using belong to someone else and check social media sites to ensure they really exist. You can also search for sentences and phrases online, in case they are using a known fake profile.

Sentences and phrases online

If something doesn’t feel right, don’t be afraid to just stop talking to someone.” Charly Lester, an online dating expert and founder of The Dating Awards, offers tips on how to take caution when meeting a date in person.

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5) Ask a friend for advice and their opinion: “If you even get a gut feeling that something is not quite right, ask a friend for advice and their opinion. Sometimes our mind can trick us into thinking we’ve met the perfect match when in fact we are being conned by a scam-artist.”

6) Always meet in a public place: “Anyone you meet online is a stranger, and you need to remember that, even if you’re on a second or third date.” Tell someone else where you’re going. Don’t agree to be picked up and don’t feel pressure to go anywhere else from that place, or do anything else with that date at that time so you can get a better sense of that person.”

7) Communicate with a friend: “Let someone else know where you are, and check back in with that person at the end of the date.”

8) Avoid drinking too much on dates: “While Dutch courage can be enticing, you don’t want to lower your inhibitions, and end up doing something you regret.”

Conduct a background check: consider hiring a [private investigator] to run a background check and criminal check on the person, as well as a deep dive (OSINT) Open Source Intelligence Search. If this person has been around or successful, there will be a lot of information on them.”

A background check could be a wise move considering the fact that most dating websites do not conduct one. Under Match.com’s “Terms of Use Agreement,” it clearly states that the company is not liable should you have a date with death. Similar warnings exist on popular sites eHarmony, Farmers Only, and OKCupid, among others.

Expect the unexpected: the public shouldn’t be quick to point the finger at online dating. “It’s easy to focus on the online dating aspect here, but really this could have happened to the victim if she had met Charlton at a bar or anywhere else,” Carmichael said. “They had apparently been dating for one or two months, so it’s not as if she broke the obvious safety rules like going somewhere alone with him on a first date. It’s unclear whether she knew about his criminal history of misdemeanor violence, but even if she did, it would not be reasonable to think that would be a tip-off that he’s a depraved killer.” “For example, it’s not uncommon for a man who has a history of violence with other men in bar brawls or other disputes to be completely appalled at the idea of striking a woman,” she added.

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