The other day I decided to see what dangers are lurking on the Internet dating scene. Online dating has never been as popular as it is today. But there are always predators who will take advantage of new ways to meet victims.
As Ted Bundy has taught us, serial killers can look like your average all American guy and still have raging demons inside themselves. We tend to forget that and that is why horror stories keep popping up such as these:
Earlier this year, a northern California man met a Brazilian woman, was smitten and proposed to her. He lavished money, gifts and even a car on the woman. Then he disappeared while meeting her in Brazil. Several months later, the police found his body and suspected that his fiancé with other two men drugged, robbed and murdered this lonely man.
Here is another story about the dangers of meeting people online: The police is looking for a man who is alleged to have sexually assaulted a woman he met online while the couple was on a date in the city.
From that online news story, I saw the picture that the suspect used for his online profile. He looked ordinary and groomed. Not scary or creepy like a Hannibal Lector. Didn’t raise any red flags with me and obviously not with the victim.
And one more example would be the 26-year-old man who was arrested at an 18-year-old girl’s family house. Apparently he was staying there for a bit. But he was arrested for stealing a pickup truck and killing the elderly couple that owned it.
The police found him after the airing of a segment on the killings on the television show “America’s Most Wanted. A tipster recognized him from his online profile on a popular online dating service.
Meeting someone new in the real world should not be an invitation to be assaulted or even be a death sentence. So when you are chatting with someone online, keep in mind that you don’t know who you are really talking to. Even if the person you meet looks like their picture online, you STILL don’t know what that person is like until you know them better. So exercise careful judgment about what information you give that person.
I have to tell you if you are concerned about this topic; that there are online services that actually do a criminal check on prospects BEFORE they are allowed to become members. That still doesn’t mean you should lower your guard.
So, my advice is to ALWAYS be careful – especially when you meet the first time. Arrange to meet in a public place but that still doesn’t mean you won’t be a victim. You can do everything right and still be victimized. So be very careful of your surroundings and listen to your inner voice. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t hesitate to break contact and get away from that person. Don’t worry about hurting anyone’s feelings; your safety is paramount here.
At the same time, I have to say that the vast majority of people you will meet online are decent and law-abiding folks. So many people swear the success of online dating and how they met their one true love. It is a concern that very BAD apples are online but temper that thought there are mostly good people who would love to meet someone like exactly like you for friendship, romance and… even marriage!