The hazards of online dating

Social media is great – right? I have made more connections through fb and Twitter than I can count, and have then met people face – to  – face and they have become friends. Cristina Costa, Ricardo Torres and many more. And online dating is a great way to meet people – right? You can find profiles of people you share things in common with, start a communication and get to know each other.

But there is a darker, more sinister side to online interactions and unfortunately I have just experienced it…. Here is my story…

I tried match.com a few years ago, but didn’t really have any luck, although I did meet someone who has since become a friend. I decided to give it another go and registered three weeks ago. On the Tuesday I saw someone’s profile who looked lovely and we seemed to share a lot in common. I sent him an email saying I liked his profile and if he liked mine to get in touch… He said his name was James Bishop, American, based in the UK for 4 years, divorced with a son in the States.

We started having mega email correspondence on the site and then moved to our personal emails. Then we connected on a messaging App called Touch and exchanged literally hundreds and hundreds of texts a day…. We arrange to meet in London two Saturdays ago. Then on the Thursday before he told me he had to go to Tokyo because of a work crisis…

Slowly but surely lots of things started to not add up… He sent me a friendship request on fb, I was his only friend. He said he didn’t like fb and only reactivated his account to connect with me… Plausible I thought but a little odd…. I suggested skyping, he said skype wasn’t working, something to do with upgrading his machine. We tried connecting via Google Hangouts, but it didn’t work, he said it was something to do with the hotel security network… We did have two brief phone calls. He sent me lots of pictures of him in Tokyo and his flight bookings, all looked genuine.

We rearranged to meet today – in the evening. He was due to fly back on Wednesday. Then he said he had had a car crash and lost his wallet. He rebooked the flight for today and again sent the flight details. But then this morning he said he was at the Western Union bank when he should have been at the airport… So by now I was very very suspicious and just waiting for him to ask for money. Which he did in an email…

Hey .. I hope you arrive safely .. Anyway some money came up and like I said I still need 3k pounds and is there anything you can do about it ??.. 

So that is that. I have de-friended and reported him on fb and will report him on match.com. 

I am embarrassed to admit that I fell for this… particularly given the nature of my work. But I feel it is important to blog about this to warn others… Yes Mr or Ms right may well be waiting for you on some internet dating site, but just be careful there are some real sickos out there. This is supposedly a picture of him, wonder who’s digital identity he has stolen. So I am a little shaken and bruised… but will put it down to an experience….

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