Avoid dating disasters by snooping on your potential love
By: Keith King
OVERLAND PARK, Kansas - The popularity of dating websites has exploded in recent years.
But as more people open up online to romance, many open themselves to big risks.
Now a Call For Action special report shows you just how easy it is to avoid some risks by simply snooping on your potential love long before you meet face to face.
Meet Cheryl. She is an Overland Park widow who loves to read, spend time with friends, and dogs. Cheryl lost her husband of 35 years in 2007 and recently she decided it was time to date.
She went on match.com . Before long, Cheryl was being pursued by a potential Mr. Right.
"I saw his picture. I’m the one that winked at him," Cheryl says.
The guy said his name is Karl Jens, a 60-year old construction engineer who is a widower and father of a teenage boy from Kansas City, Kansas. Raised in Denmark, Karl came complete with an accent and all the right things to say.
He writes:” I’m a gentleman looking to meet a lady, first as friends and see what life has to offer us.”
Cheryl was smitten. She says, "He saw my picture. Very interested. Kind of saying the things that women like to hear."
The two talked for weeks. But when the time came to finally meet face to face, Karl suddenly got called away to Malaysia on business. Then, Cheryl heard him talk about a business emergency where he needed money. He asked Cheryl for $10,000. She eventually wired him $2,000.
The requests for money didn't stop there. Next, Cheryl says Karl’s 13-year old son needed surgery and Karl again needed money.
Now suspicious, Cheryl called Barstow, the Kansas City school where Karl said his son was enrolled. She learned no one by that name went there.
Upset and out $2,000, Cheryl ended it with Karl.
She told him, “The gravy train stops here."
Cheryl is not alone. In November, the Federal Trade Commission issued a warning to anyone using dating
websites to be on guard for scam artists. The typical scenario is when a scammer creates a fake profile, gains trust, and then asks for money to be wired outside the US.
Chuck Stephenson is a local private investigator who says these days more people turn to him to background someone. Most times, the person is not who they say they are.
"I’d say close to 60% are money issues where that individual will eventually ask for money,” Stephenson says.
A recent New York Times article shows online "Date Detectives can Unmask Mr. or Ms. Wrong". Everything from websites to smart phone apps offer to background your potential mate for a price.
There are ways for you to dig up dirt on your potential mate for free.
First stop: Zabasearch . You can type in a name and a state to unearth information. Try the advanced search to uncover more goods.
Next, check court records. Websites like casenet.com in
Missouri and jocogov.org can tell you a lot if the person has a criminal past.
Each state including Missour i and Kansas also has a sex offender registry. There's an FBI national sex offender registry too. Those are easy to check. Do it!
Try to learn the address of where your potential love lives. Then, go to work. County websites like Jackson County, Missouri list property including homes, cars and other toys.
As for Cheryl, she thought her guy was legit. He sent her copies of business contracts and documents that appear real. They’re not.
"I feel very gullible. I feel very stupid… I think I learned my lesson,” she says.
Cheryl bravely shares her online dating horror story hoping it may spare someone else heartache.
Want to learn more about snooping? Click here for some great additional tips.
Read more: http://www.kshb.com/dpp/money/consumer/call_for_action/avoid-dating-disasters-by-snooping-on-your-potential-mate-#ixzz1od4yL6Sq