Columnists Features

Of online dating and fraudsters

Torn Apart: BOYD PHIRI
THE English say love is blind, perhaps this is why some people look for love anywhere, including the Internet.
Online dating has become the in-thing among most people. In fact, online dating is now like going to a supermarket, thanks to Photoshop.
This is a practice of searching for a romantic or sexual partner on the Internet, normally through a dedicated website.
Of course, this does not mean nothing good can come out from the Internet, but the thing is, most people are falling prey to fraudsters.
It’s certainly a different world where tricksters have taken advantage of the desperation among many people looking for love to extort money from them.
Obviously, looking for love on the Internet is not like asking your grandmother in the village to arrange a marriage by sending pictures of potential suitors for you to choose from.
I understand online dating makes it easy for scammers to find and target you. They usually come up with false profiles with fake information and photos. They may even spend weeks trying to gain your trust.
Before you know it, they would be laughing all the way to the bank to pick their loot after talking you into sending them money to pay for some medicals.
Perhaps this is why most people in the hood have remained faithful to their old-fashioned way of finding love.
As some single women in the hood would tell you, they don’t go to church every Sunday for nothing.
At church the chances of finding a date or indeed marriage mate are high, especially when the pastor invites all single men and women to come forward to be prayed for.
Naturally, this creates a platform for singles to be acquainted with one another eventually leading to dates.
If you have a good voice, you join the church choir to take advantage of the opportunity to stand in front every Sunday to impress potential suitors who would talk you into a date.
Queuing outside church to greet one another after the sermon can present another opportunity for singles to get to know one another.
If you see a choir master prolonging a handshake with a female usher, just know he is trying to set a tone for offline dating. At least it’s less risky than online dating.
Funeral gatherings in the hood can also provide an opportunity for singles to get to know one another, not to talk of bars.
If you hear your daughter asking you if she could go and spend a night at a house of mourning, just know that she is up to something.
If fact, it is common nowadays to see teenage boys and girls in the hood attending burials. They seize every opportunity to leave home and meet with their suitors.
Considering how risky online dating is, some people still find hospitals and clinics ideal places to find love.
Don’t be surprised if you hear a male patient on a queue to see the doctor asking a nurse for a date.
However, whatever the situation, offline dating is less risky than online dating. Scammers on Internet dating eventually come up with stories about some medical or travel emergency, for which they request your help to resolve.
They would promise to pay you back when they resolve the situation, only to disappear after you send them money.
Many people, especially women, have been swindled huge sums of money in the hope of finding love on the Internet.
Instead of being happy at the prospect of finding their love, they become more miserable to the point of committing suicide.
So, look out for fraudsters when you are obsessed with online dating.

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