By Maralise Howes
Here is my story. Hope you can use some of it as it is something I’m very passionate about and I think it might just help someone out there.
After being divorced for many years and raising my children I decided it was time to get out into the world and start dating again.
With all the modern day technology and some encouragement from friends, I joined a few dating sites. It all seemed easy enough.
You create a profile with your requirements for a partner, upload a photo and you’re all set to go.
Big! was my surprise after gettin more than ten hits from guys in less than a week. So it all begins …
First you get messages on the site only, very soon the guy asks for your an e-mail address, telephone number or bbm pin “to make communication easier”. They all look like respectable men (from the photos anyways), most have advanced degrees, good jobs and above average incomes.
The e-mail start to come through and even messages on whatsapp or bbm. They are so sweet, asking questions to compare compatibility, complementing on your beauty, asking for more photos. It’s never ending.
These guys talk to you day and night. They say they work on contracts, both local and internationally and that once they get back to South Africa they want to meet and see where this relationship will lead to; “as you are exactly what they have been looking for all their life”.
They are either divorced or widowed. We, woman, believe them and we can’t wait to meet these wonderful, sweet, sexy men.
According to them they are all either English, American or Spanish and they even phone you with an overseas number speaking with some accent.
Then one day you get a message; “I want to send you a gift from overseas because you are so special and I want to show you how much you mean to me”. Then you must give your home address and you give it cause by now “you are so in love with this wonderful man” and incidentally cyber-dating has now come off-line not that you’d notice or care since “you’re in love” and all.
A day or two later you get an e-mail from a courier company confirming that your parcel has been sent and a tracking number may be provided to track your parcel. It all looks on the up and up, it works, you await your lovingly sent parcel.
Then comes another e-mail “your parcel is in South Africa”, but you need to pay an amount or provide credit card details to have your parcel released. When you ask your newly found “boyfriend” about this, he’s all surprised as he has “paid all the necessary costs to the courier company”. He then asks you to pay the money and as soon as he gets back to South Africa he will refund you.
Ladies, this is a scam.
Once you pay the money you will be blocked on all social networks and you will never hear from them again.
Maybe I was too clever or just lucky, I didn’t pay any money or give credit card details. I managed to convince one of the guys to come clean whom I have since befriended.
Through him I have learned a lot about these scams.
I’ve watched him “work”, it is unbelievable how they play with women. Flirting and chatting with you all day and all night … never ending flowing floods of compliments. Don’t fall for this, these men pay rent, pay tuition and even entertain women with money paid to them by innocently “in love” women.
The last word? Well; Yes, we are single but we are strong, beautiful, intelligent woman and we don’t need to pay for the love of a man. We need to stand together and end this.