Avoiding Romance Scams While Using On-line Dating Sites

People are conned everyday on dating sites, losing thousands of dollars to romance scammers.  Reports confirm that romance scams cost consumers more financially than any other kind of internet fraud.  The world of on-line dating is becoming more familiar to us as one of the main venues to find romance.  People look to social media and on-line dating sites everyday to connect with the world, find that certain someone, creating an easy access for scammers to take advantage.

As a user of on-line dating sites, I recently notice the number of on-line scammers is increasing drastically.  I would say 2 out of 5 emails I receive is from a romance scammer.  As the allure of on-line dating becomes more popular, with more people than ever signing up, scammers are stepping up their game and the numbers are multiplying fast.

Anyone can become the victim of an online dating scam.  Most people think that the crimes are limited to middle-aged men and women who can’t find a date, surprisingly this is not always the case.  It is happening to people in all walks of life – lawyers, doctors, entertainers, CEO’s of companies  – all have fallen victim to these on-line romance cons.  So how do you know if you are contacted by a scammer?  How do you protect yourself from falling for this persons deceit?  What do you do if you find out you are indeed talking to a romance scammer?  What actions do you take?

Here are some red flags to keep in mind in determining if someone who contacted you is a scammer.  To recognize and avoid romance scams, follow these tips.

  • Grammar –  There is not much first person “I” or “we,” for example:  The sentence might start out as – “Am happy to met you.”  They tend to leave out the I’s and start sentences with Am.  They may say that they are university educated but their grammar is poor.
  • Profile –  Romance scammers rarely have more than one picture on their profile.  Maybe two.  Sometimes you will even notice that they are not even the same person …maybe similar in looks but not the same! You will not see pictures of them with family, beloved pets, at home cooking up a meal …the pictures you would see on a normal users profile.   The profile’s essay is noticeably shorter than most, illustrating that not much thought and intent were used to create it.
  • Correspondence – In chatting with a romance scammer, usually by the second or third email you will notice the conversation moves from vague to introduction of love.  The scammer’s intention is to establish a relationship as quickly as possible, endear himself to the victim and gain trust.  They may say things like – “am love talking to you this morning, would love to wake up with you for rest of our lives.”  Realistically someone you just met, and talked to only once or twice, would not do this.  Beware if they immediately ask you to talk to them off site, as in a personal email, or by phone.  The scammer will often say they are not on the site very often, or not very familiar with the site and can communicate easier by personal email etc.  If this is a legitimate user, they should be willing to take time to know you on the dating site first.  To further gain your trust scammers will make plans to meet in person, but that will never happen as there will always be some excuse.  Often they claim to be temporarily out of the country working on a project as a construction manager or engineer.  Many will also say they are widowed.  If you still have not met after a couple of months, you should be suspicious.
  • The Hook – Eventually, they always ask for money.  Or occasionally, it is a mail fraud scam and they will ask for your address to ship you a “gift” they recently bought for you.  I had one guy tell me he bought me an engagement ring and was scared to keep it aboard the ship he was on for fear of piracy.  He needed my address to go ahead and ship the ring, as he planned to fly in to see me as soon as he docked in a month or so to propose marriage.

DO NOT BE A VICTIM OF SCAM!  Just remember to be cautious.

Play detective.  Research the persons photo and profile using online search engines and resources.  Find out as much as you can as soon as you can.  Ask lots of questions.  They will always try to evade answering questions.  Be aware if they seem to perfect too soon.

You know the saying …”If something seems to good to be true, it usually is.”

If you suspect an online relationship is a scam, stop all contact immediately.  Do not let them know you are on to them. Never, never try to lead them on or anger them in any way.   And if you are the victim of a romance scam, file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.

I hope you find these tips useful.  Be safe out there and thanks for visiting!

Arlene

 

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Sex Happens

DO YOU NEED A HUSBAND?

As women, we define ourselves by our connection to a man. Are we someone’s wife? Lover?

Think about Eat, Pray, Love. The book opens with the main character leaning over the toilet bowl, certain her life is over. Then she travels to Italy where she eats, India where she prays and then she loves—the true reconstruction of a life for a woman.

 

Look at Blue Jasmine, the movie. The main character discovers her husband is a fraud. She comes undone. She holds onto her role as wife of a wealthy man. She can’t accept her life without her husband.

 

This is literature, but art imitates life and when it comes to marriage, it’s no exception.

Famous cellist, Wasserstein, stated when she got engaged, now she’d be taken seriously. Yes, even a fabulous career USUALLY isn’t enough.

 

I remember talk radio host Dennis Praeger describing a conversation he had with three recent college graduates who asked him to guide them about meaningful careers. He suggested they consider motherhood as their primary goal and select a secondary career which could support that. As an extremely successful chiropractor and Qualified Medical Examiner,  It is the role of mother that has given me life-affirming joy and fulfillment. While I’ve been fortunate to have a career which was financially and emotionally rewarding, it was nothing compared to seeing children grown into adulthood and create their own families.

However, this isn’t the same for everyone. Being a wife or a mother is a common goal, but others find fulfillment in travelling, volunteering, as an aunt or sister. In some cases, women have created their own versions of families with friends and neighbors.

 

Think about your life as a professional woman, a wife, a mother. Where does your soul get fed? Knowing this about yourself will allow the most fulfillment.

My novel, Sex Happens, is about a woman whose priorities develop with the curveballs of life. Her children remain the center, but she is able to gain more support from female friends, rediscover herself as a lover, and realize her strength as a businesswoman.

The novel is currently rated 5 starts on Amazon.com, and is available in print and Kindle formats. You can find it here: http://a.co/4DhDTdh

Dr. Carol Soloway is a chiropractor and qualified medical examiner, who has now entered a new journey as a writer. She is currently on her book tour around the U.S. Learn more about Carol and Sex Happens at www.sexhappensanovel.com or facebook.com/sexhappensanovel

 

Thanks to Dr. Carol Soloway for being our guest blogger today.  Please do check out her new novel, Sex Happens.  A great read, and just in time for Valentine’s Day!

Until next time …

Happy Reading!

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Ghosting and Dating

You may not be familiar with this, as was my case, but the term is called Ghosting.  

Urban Dictionary defines it as such:

Ghosted – To abruptly stop all forms of communication and contact with someone else especially an online relationship.

When someone you were relatively on good terms with suddenly doesn’t respond to your messages anymore or doesn’t reach out.

Source:  http://www.urbandictionary.com.

Has this ever happened to you?  You met someone recently, on-line and now you are chatting, texting and talking on the phone.  Maybe you’ve even met in person and are dating.  Suddenly, this person ceases communication with you, no text, no phone calls, no emails …just nothing, like they dropped off the face of the earth!  Well, if this sounds familiar …then chances are you have been GHOSTED!

This happened to me just recently, and after talking with a couple of friends I find out that this is a common thing which occurs in the dating world, especially online.  I would not imagine this would be the trend in dating over 40 or 50 …but I guess there are no age limits when it comes to being emotionally absent.  Maturity isn’t gained with age on some people.

Ghosting is more prevalent amongst  younger crowds of on-line daters.  It is a new age and a whole new set of rules.  You can even be considered to be dating someone even if you have never met in person.  Yes, you heard correctly.  You can be dating someone even if you have not met them, simply by finding them on-line and building a rapport of texting, chatting and maybe even the occasional phone conversation.    When this no longer works and you have no intention of meeting, you can just Ghost them and be done with it.  Which seems I guess harmless enough …unless you are actually dating in person and have been for months, as was my case.  In my opinion, ghosting at this point should be absolutely unacceptable.

Acceptable or not, if you are out there in the dating world this is something you may encounter.  So now what?  My best advice, MOVE ON!  Ghost them back, do not inquire as to why they did this.  Chances are if you have been ghosted they are not going to be forthcoming now with an explanation, you most likely will receive more silence.  Best thing to do is act like you don’t care, you don’t even miss that they are gone, and maybe you actually don’t.  If it is meant to be than they will come back to you, realize their mistake and contact you.  Then at that point you can decide if they had a valid reason for their behavior …illness, car accident etc.   If after ghosting back you still get “crickets” …well than probably they never cared anyway, and if they ghosted you to begin with, do you really want someone like that in your life?

Find someone who has enough respect for you, as a person, to at least text you a so long, an explanation of why they do not care to communicate anymore.  The pond is full of fish, and if not, find another pond.  Swim on and fish again!  😉

Until next time …

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Happy Fishing!

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On Line Dating, Is It For You?

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I have asked myself this question a thousand times.  I have heard my friend’s opinion on this subject a thousand times.  So what is the answer?  Will online dating work for you, is it something you should try?  What are the pros and cons of online dating? 

First, before you make the decision to put yourself out there …Here are some things you should consider.  Look at the pros and cons and ask yourself this:

  1. Do you have the opportunity to go out and meet people the old fashion way?   Maybe you live in a rural area or just don’t have many single friends.  Actually both apply to me.  I am a 50 something single Mom who lives in a small city and does not do the bar scene anymore.  Most of my friends are married, and events and invitations consist of mostly gatherings at another married friend’s house.  Uh …not much opportunity to meet someone here.  So, if like me, you are limited in places to go and people to go with …then, online dating might be for you. You can meet people outside your social circle and even your geographical area.  By meeting different people you can get a better idea of what you are truly looking for.  Beware though, some of the people you meet out of your area may just be looking for a pen pal and never really end up wanting to meet. As where in the old fashion way, you already have that advantage.
  2. Does your career leave you time for a social life?  This one, I think, is the reason a lot of people decide to use online dating.  People work long hours, odd shift times and it leaves little room to go out and meet other people.  If this is you, then you might want to try  online dating.  Just keep in mind, as I have run into this with dates …If you have little time for a social life, due to your career …you still will have to find time to meet and date once you find this online dreamboat. Also, it takes work and time to date online.  You will need to set up a profile, including pictures and monitor it; and be organized enough to weed through and answer all the emails in a timely manner.
  3. Are you an extrovert or introvert?  If you lean towards being an introvert, then you might  be thinking about online dating.  It is much easier to begin a conversation through a dating web site than it would be to walk up to someone at a party.  You are already online for so many other things …Facebook, LinkedIn etc.  So ask yourself, is this really much different from looking for a job online?  Now, if you are the life of the party and go out often …then the online thing could be a waste of your time, as in the end, you will still need to meet to find out if there is going to be chemistry.
  4. Are you adventurous enough to try something new?  I read that over 40 million singles have tried online dating, and that 1 out of 5 relationships started online.   So with that said, it sounds like a sure thing! Right??  However, it isn’t as easy as all that.  Be prepared!  If you do venture out, expect to get burned a few times.  People will lie about their age, income, career, height, weight, relationship status …you will get frustrated, sometimes after only a couple of dates.  Be patient and have fun with it …if you start feeling that this may not be for you, take a break.  It’s the internet, it is available 24 hours a day and will be there when you are ready again.
  5. Can you afford the price of online dating?  People have mixed opinions on this one.  Some people would never dream of paying a dating site, and others may think it is a small price to pay to find the right person.  You should know that not all dating sites require you to pay.  Most sites are set up where you can search and flirt for free, but do hope that you will want to upgrade in order to actually exchange emails.  These types of sites, like maybe eHarmony, are probably better in the long run if you are serious and can afford it.  These sites, sometimes, will attract the more serious daters.  The daters who don’t mind paying and taking the time to fill out and answer all the questions, because  just like you, they want to find a relationship, something more long-term.  There are dating sites that are totally free, such as POF (Pond of Fish) this dating site does not require you to pay in order to search, flirt or exchange email. However …as nice as this is …you will run into a lot more people who are just on there for fun, who want nothing serious; one night stands, pen pals, scammers, etc.  Do your research and choose wisely as to what might be better suited to your needs and what you are looking for.

At the end of the day, in this digital day and age, it actually makes perfect sense to have an online and an offline routine of dating to find the right person for you.  As someone once said to me, “Remember, the goal is to take your online dating, offline.”  So, whether you actually meet offline or online you still have to be able to grow and maintain your relationship.  It’s up to you whether you actually build that profile online or find the right lines to say and time to say them offline.  The important thing is to get out there and date,  find your happily ever after.  I know I will!  😉

 

Thanks for reading!

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XO Arlene

Kiss And Tell. It’s in the Kiss?

A recent date said something to me that got me thinking …He said that you can’t tell if you are going to like someone or not (have that chemistry) until you kiss them.  Hmmm …I am not sure that I agree with that.  If I look at them and don’t see attraction …well then, chances are I am not going to want to kiss them!  I think at the moment, in his case, he was saying that just because he wanted a kiss.

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But, is this really true?  I think I know long before that first kiss if I am going to have chemistry, or not …If I am going to even want to kiss someone.  Now, if I feel there is chemistry and then we do kiss it would only confirm, even more, that there are feelings.  What do you think?

With that being said …does that make them a good person?  A person that I am going to continue to date?  Maybe and maybe not.   But still, can you feel that chemistry with out a first kiss?  I think you can.  Chemistry, after all, does not have to be sexual.  If you meet someone and you like their personality, then sometimes you just “click” with them.  That is chemistry, way before the first kiss.  Then after you get to know them, you may be attracted to them physically …and then the first kiss comes into play.   I guess it could be possible too, that the person that I look at and instantly go all weak at the knees over, could in fact be a bad kisser!

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Then I suppose that would indeed kill any chemistry/feeling that I initially had upon first sight.  If they are a bad kisser do you still want to go out with them …will there be another date?  Of course, on the other hand …maybe you are not that attracted to someone by looks alone or even by their personality until you get past the first kiss.   Then you feel something from the kiss itself.  Just enough to boost any doubt you might have about whether you are really attracted to them.

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Just my thoughts on a very hot and sunny Wednesday, on a slow day at work.  Okay, now you know where the mind wonders to …Ha!   18227e8ae60fcc1d5886ed9abdc6d505

Thanks for Reading!

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XO Arlene

50 Is The New 30

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Is 50 really the new 30?  I will say that 30 something is the new 50 for the weather in Texas the last couple of days …our last little cold snap.  Of course, I am not talking about the use of this saying about the weather.  I hear the expression all the time from my friends.  Someone is always saying,  “Well, you know, 50 is the new 30.”  Which I guess is replacing 40 as the new 20.  So, do I look and feel 30?  Yes and no, maybe in mind and spirit, physically I am not so sure.  I notice a few more aches and pains these days, that I did not have in my 30’s.

I suppose the expression does hold true in some way. At 50, I started a new chapter in my life. When I was 30, I would never imagine that I would be where I am today. I certainly did not imagine myself being single. In some ways, I feel like I am the Julia Roberts character in “Eat, Pray, Love.”  I see things so much more clearly now that I am older. I know so much more about myself now, than I ever did at 30. I am stronger, smarter and more independent than I have ever been in my life.  I have grown so much in just the past couple of years.  I know who I am, what I want, and am comfortable with this knowledge.  I have a new confidence to go along with the new independence I have acquired.  Sometimes it takes major life changes to make you realize everything you may have thought you knew and wanted, in your younger years, may not be what you really need nor want now.

The world awaits me and there is so much still out there to do and learn. Turning 50 something does not mean you are getting older, it only means that you are at another chapter.  Life is not winding down, it has only just begun. Yes folks, I believe 50 is the new 30 for this woman!

 

 

Dating And The Single Mom

For those of you who don’t know, I am a single mother, working full-time and living in Texas.  That is the short of it, actually I am so much more than the title would say.  I am CEO of the household; a mother, a personal chef, a mediator, an administrative assistant, a housekeeper, a banker and finance manager, a taxi driver, a judge, a teacher and a friend.

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The list could go on and on …my point being that it is a busy, not always easy and sometimes thankless job. The rewards however really are many.  If you are a parent you know what I am talking about.  I love my busy, crazy life and feel blessed to have it.

Now, the down side to this wonderful life I lead is that it leaves little time for me.  Hey, the CEO needs a break sometimes.  Occasionally, I do get together with the girls.  We laugh, we cry, we have some wine …and maybe some more wine.  Meeting up with the girls is a great stress release and so much fun!

Now, let’s throw dating into the mix …and all of a sudden the problem, finding the time to date.  As my son gets older, I find that the possibility of dating does become somewhat easier …but still not as much as I would have thought.  I still have a school age son at home, a teenager no less!  I still have to be there at night for him.  I am still CEO of the household.  I am still personal chef.  So now, add a creative writer (my profile on dating sites), a designer (a girl has to have the right outfit!) a judge (of good character), a decision maker (should I or should I not go out with this guy?  Is he right for me?) …well you get the idea.  So how is a single mom suppose to find the time to date?  And if you do find the time, is your busy schedule going to coincide with your dates?

I recently had a brief dating relationship with a guy who politely told me that it wasn’t going to work out for us (after only 4 dates, mind you) because he didn’t like that I couldn’t talk on the phone more often with him.  Apparently, this is a deal breaker for him.  The longer version being that he thought we got along great and he really liked me, but …I didn’t have more time for him and less time with my family.  We went out for about 2 weeks, during this time we talked on the phone at least twice during the week, texted every day and went out on the weekend, plus lunch during the week.  I felt like I was rearranging my schedule and compromising for him …But where was his compromise??  So when he called me to tell me it wasn’t going to work, I didn’t try to change his mind.  I did all I was willing to do at this point, already.   So in the end, it was …Bye, bye needy engineer guy, weird kisser …it wasn’t going to work.

But I think the point I am trying to make here is this:  You have to take into consideration that we all have schedules and different lives, whether we are single with kids, single and retired, single and working etc.  If you are single for any length of time, at all, you should know that everyone needs time to adjust to a new person in their lives.  You get used to your schedule and when someone new comes along it takes a bit of time and finesse to fit them in.  It takes compromise on both parties, and a willingness to want to do so.  It takes understanding, understanding that this can’t always happen at first, nor may you want it to.

I think the “not wanting it to happen to quickly” part was true with the engineer guy.  I wasn’t opposed to changing my schedule a little, to let him in, hell I thought I had!  I mean I just met the guy, I didn’t even know his last name!!  I wasn’t even sure if I had any feelings for him, other than being his friend.  I did enjoy his company …but was this enough, at this point, to rearrange my life for?  I didn’t think so and wanted more time to decide whether it was going to work out.  I think if you are going to be “out there” dating, you have to be patient and not rush things.  You have to be understanding to a certain degree, understanding of what the other person has going on, and if you like them work through this with them.  I don’t know …maybe it just depends on the guy or the girl and how much you like them to how much time you are going to invest now or down the road.  Food for thought.

“No need to rush. If it is worth having, it is worth waiting for …and what is meant for you always arrives on time.”

So, for this Lady, right here, right now, I will continue to be a dating mom, a CEO of my household, of my life.  Forever strong, independent and confident, moving forward with my life, in progress.

“She is single because she refuses to settle for someone who falls short of what she deserves.

Knowing her self worth, she has chosen to preserve a spot in her heart for a real man.

Someone mature enough to understand that loyalty, commitment, and honestly are a priority and not an option.”

 

Thanks for reading!

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