Single superhero, smart/cute/funny, enjoys world travel and spicy food, seeks that one special reporter who will not get sucked into writing yet ANOTHER unbalanced story about how internet dating is dangerous and SCAAAAAAAAAAARY.
The latest dispatch, from CNN, reports that more and more people (mostly women, I guess) are becoming victims of “romance fraud:” scams by would-be suitors “designed to prey on [their] emotions to get [their] money.” (Wait. Doesn’t that describe the wedding industry? Har.) There’s even a website called RomanceScams.org, with tips for avoiding romance fraud and help for those who fell prey. Founder Barb Sluppick told CNN that the site, now three years old, has over 30,000 members: 833 have reported financial losses totaling $8,244,800.05.
Okay, that’s a lot of money for new “work boots” and (yes) wedding expenses. I’m not saying this info’s not newsworthy or troubling in and of itself, or that people shouldn’t be aware of red flags. (Like, er, being asked for lots of money by someone who “owns a diamond mine.”) But a little context would be nice. Like the fact that Match.com alone has a membership of 15 million, which is a lot more than 833. Or the notion that the Interwebs are not the only domain of scammers, or even of jerks and meanies. Just because you meet someone at a party does not mean he or she is telling the truth about needing help, just this once, with a car payment. Or how about the flipside: that while, yes, heartbreak — sometimes the illegal kind — happens online (and elsewhere), so does the opposite. You know, love and happily ever after. I don’t know why some are still so hellbent on portraying dating sites as some sort of giant maximum security prison network. To the eleven of you who still haven’t tried online dating: be aware, but don’t be scared.