This article is one that I am writing not because I have a good opinion on the subject, but more as a PSA. Online Dating is something I am not against, but I do think that people need to protect themselves.
For about 5 years I did not chat online with anyone I did not know personally. Blogs made me relax those rules to the point that there are people that I call friends that I have not me IRL (In Real Life). However when it comes to dating I still believe that you should meet the person face to face ASAP. Two reasons. One is just protection against fraud… which is the reason for this article, the second one is because over the net people can present a facade that is so hard to bring down it would be a disappointment when the people meet.
As humans we tend to want to present our best traits when we first meet people. Eventually in a relationship we start to learn the other person’s quirks and “negative” traits. In an online relationship some things might not come up, not saying that they are consciously hidden to deceive the other person, but it is almost inevitable that you are not going to type (I am letting one out right now that would clear any room.)
A couple of people I met online through a local Yahoo chatroom ended up as more than friends. The first thing we did was go to lunch and met them face to face. That was very important to me because I think face to face is a better way to get to know someone. It is sad that not everyone is as lucky as we are to have met someone worth knowing the rest of their lives online.
A close friend of mine became trap of fraud via online dating. As I retell this story many people might say, how stupid can one be… but you have to remember that when you become involved with someone even face to face you chose to see what you want to see.
My friend developed a relationship with this woman purely online because of geographical distance. They talked on the phone and became good friends over a 3 month period. Then eventually an elaborate story developed… what it boils down to was that money needed to be sent ASAP and the girl had no way to get the cash, so my friend fronted the money. Three thousand dollars later my friend was left high and dry and this person disappeared from the face of the earth.
My point is. Protect yourselves from people online. Try to make sure that you share situations and relationships with those around you. Something you might not see as suspicious can be spotted a mile away by a friend not intoxicated by feelings.