Online Dating: Be Careful what Kind of Love You Wish for

Harare – If you belong to the older generation, you remember cruising in movie houses or parties with your date. Fast track decades later: Millions of singles now locate love at the click of a button in a bid to find lifetime companionship oblivious of the lurking dangers. 

An online dating scam orchestrated by Grace Akintaro in which she tricked lonesome man of more than £100 000 has opened a Pandora box into the secret world of online dating.

Derick Matsengarwodzi
Akintaro, 24, posed as a fictional woman called Amanda Jenson, chatted online leading men to believe they might have finally located love. The lady convinced her victims to send her travel money for meetings.
Grace Ankitaro

She withdrew the money for personnel use, but never pitched. Now Akintaro is facing fraud by false representation at Woolwich crown court. In defense, she said the scam was masterminded by someone else.

“I was naive and used by this person I was in love with.” She will be sentenced on June 20.

With such lurking dangers, experts caution on how to stay safe through online dating.

Restrict chats to website or app
Keeping all interchanges restricted to the messaging services will save a lot of challenges. Keeping discussions on the site will restrict scammers from targeting you because their behaviours are always monitored.

Block anyone suspicious
“On the dating site users’ behavior can be monitored, so if someone becomes abusive or inappropriate, the site can respond accordingly. You also have the ability to block someone on a dating site messaging system,” said an online expert.

Know someone before meeting
Always have suspicious mind, and know the other person is a stranger. Endure they are what they claim to be.

“When you meet someone you can quickly feel like you know them really well, because it’s often easier to connect in writing and to read more into the written word than the spoken word. This can mean you rush into things, and relationships may move quicker than you expect.

Ask a friend for advice and their opinion
Have a friend to ask for advice if you are in doubt. Our minds can trick us into believing we have met Mr or Mrs Right when we are slowly being scammed.

Research them online
With the advent of internet searching tools, don’t hesitate to research someone you meet online, this way y can easily spot any suspicions.

“Use Google Images to check whether the photos they are using belong to someone else and check social media sites to ensure they really exist. You can also search for sentences and phrases online, in case they are using a known fake profile.”

If you notice any mismatches, stop the chats right away. – Additional reporting from Online Sources

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