Online Dating – Dangerous Ishq!


In this era of busy lifestyle, it is obvious that people have less time to dedicate to their personal lives and hence tend to become lonely. If I say that we live in the age of lonely hearts… I may not be wrong!

These lonely hearts always try to find some or the other way to escape their emptiness… With social media taking over… rather, leading the communication sector… it has proved to be the best tool and the most common way to find friends… and also that ‘special someone’.

Just like any relationship… online relationships too have their own success as well as unsuccessful stories. However, here the issue is that we begin getting closer and opening our heart to some one we never met… we don’t know at all about that person still we get in to the relationship and find a soulmate in that person… hence chances of things going wrong are comparatively more.

I consider such scams into two categories;

1. Personal

2. Cyber threats

When I talk about personal benefits, spying and money extortion tops the list. Any one who wants to spy an individual can fall in love with or make the individual fall in love online. People find this as an easy way to fool some one and earn money in the name of emotions and friendship.

I am sure many of us might have faced such situation wherein, we have met some one online who gradually becomes good friends and then at times love. Later that person may have asked for financial help stating that they are facing some unforeseen situations. Usually such online relationships are short-term though with a promise of long-term at the beginning. The intention is financial benefit. The day you deny helping such person, you do not love or rather trust that person!

As per FBI, chances of women being trapped in such romance Scams is double than men. Last year (2011) the losses reported from this type of fraud reached $50.4 million, with the average victim losing around $8,900 in the name of love. The FBI report also claims that at a rate of 15 complaints received per day, these scams saw daily reported losses of approximately $138,000, or more than $5,700 every hour.

 Most of the times, it is difficult to identify the intentions of the real people behind the fake profiles. The scam artists are innovative in terms of developing new tricks and excellent when it comes to creating characters online to run such frauds. They win trust and heart of victims and often leave them heartbroken and financially ruined.

 The second category of Online dating scams is cyber threats. With the growing cyber age… cyber terrorism, cyber espionage is on peak. Cyber criminals easily take advantage of people adapting to the online dating and relationships in order to exploit the vulnerabilities. Hackers know that in the name of love, fooling people is easy. Moreover, once the trust is won, it is easy to get access the victim’s financial information with an intention of identity theft. Such activities include less effort and help attain maximum output with zero percent physical interaction. No doubt, online dating is a billion dollar industry!

 These days online scammers have started a new scam campaign on Facebook wherein they alert you that someone has viewed your profile or has showed interest in you or has posted a message for you. Then to know more about it they ask you to click on the mentioned link (fraud). Once you click on that link, you welcome malware in your system that takes over your system by infecting it.  

 In addition, at times dating sites are hacked due to improper security measures deployed by the web site. Even if the user exercises utmost caution, the site itself may provide complete information about the member to the hackers including CC number, etc. in case the victim is a paid registered member. Recently, a military dating website – www.militarysingles.com was hacked into by hackers wherein they took confidential information such as passwords, email addresses, etc. from more than 170,000 records. 

 Moreover, in case the photographs are shared while in the online relationship, anyone can take advantage of those pictures. I hope you know about morphed images! People who fall prey of such scams not only face financial loss buy also embarrassment that is usually tragic.

 So, next time anyone who tries to find love online, always ensure of not sharing any kind of sensitive information while interacting on dating sites. Parents, especially of teens, should be cautious and ensure that the child is not getting in such practices. Remember that photographs are not the right proof to judge the genuinity of person and may not even show the real sender (scammer). There is a possibility that the love interest (scammer) of the victim may not even be the same gender that was informed at the beginning of the relationship. It is not that such scams may only happen when some one approaches to the victim. There is a possibility that the scammers may have created a profile on the dating site and then waits for a potential victim to contact them.

 At times, scammers send out random unsolicited emails stating that they are a loner or have a desire to begin a relationship in the hope that some gullible recipients will favourably respond. Many a times, such relationships also begin in chat rooms or messengers.

 Well, I know, anyone reading this may have a question in their mind – is it possible to find love online? I would say, anything is possible… however, I guess we ourselves are the better person who can think best for us! Or may be we are looking for love in wrong places!

How good is being social?


“Are you on Facebook or Twitter or Google+?” This is the most generic question asked these day to anyone you meet or interact with.

In the recent past, there seems to be an unprecedented growth of these so-called social interaction platforms. The main intention of the invention of Internet is for the exchange of information. Social networking sites took this trend further. Though over the last few years, they have simply taken the world by storm. It was initiated with MySpace, Badoo.Com, Bebo, Flingr and Orkut and now the most popular are Facebook, Twitter and the recent one- Google + joining the world of Social Networking sites.

It is strange that in the span of just last 6-7 years these social networking sites have picked up a great momentum and now have garnered the global attention, making people badly addict to it. They have successfully attained the must-visit web destinations on internet on daily, rather hourly basis. Today, many of us just can’t imagine living without social networking. It has become a daily routine no matter wherever we are. And with mobile phones getting more advanced day-by-day with their applications, use of social networks today is not an issue anymore.

Social networking websites work by asking you to create a profile by filling in basic information and personality, adding people you know to your friend’s list. These profiles are generally quite open and can be easily viewed by anyone. And, the worst part is that there is no way to guarantee that the people viewing your profile are the people you want to see it.

These sites no doubt come with the advantages of you getting connected to your long lost friends, which can be otherwise impossible in the case of many of us. Also, these sites have proved to be a great platform for marketing by entrepreneurs considering that it has emerged as a viable, profitable marketing tool. However, these networking sites do come with a whole lot of package of some unavoidable disadvantages!

I know at the first instance, you many not agree though this is the hard fact!

Forget about alcohol, the addiction of these social networking sites is taking new dimensions! It has no doubt turned many of us emotionally dependent on the virtual relationships developed by these sites. But the other big concern which is the worst is privacy. Until, you have a habit of regularly updating your privacy settings to ensure that your personal information is not viewed by unknown people and their pictures are not misused, you are in a big problem. And the other health issues that come along with this package… we usually don’t even think about them!

If you ask my granny, she feels that we- the so-called new generation has become lethargic because of social networking feature. She feels that it is simply making us unsocial by just being stuck in front of computer and least bothered about interacting face-to-face. It’s true to quite an extent that social networking is slowly taking over face-to-face communication, and these days’ people prefer expressing themselves online. They feel a great comfort zone. So the bottom line is communication has become rapid and easier, though at the cost of personal interaction.

It’s been observed that these days the companies spy on future employees on social networking sites. Well my point is, isn’t that supposed to be just for social networking and not to be mixed with our professional lives?

Hence, I feel that one needs to be serious about what you have in your social networking account. The stuff that you don’t want some one to see needs to be secured or blocked. We can’t consider this as spying as social networking sites are public spaces on internet. Anyone can have access to them and use the data for their own purposes. There is no such thing as separation between personal and professional anymore.

I know many people with worst experiences in their life due to these networking sites, especially teenagers who are more attracted to these sites as they meet different people not really knowing their original characters, habits etc. They call their relation as ‘love’ and ruin their live by inviting disasters. I have seen many people adding 1000 or more friends and feel happy about it. Though what I don’t understand is that what is the need of having such a huge friend’s list when from that list you don’t know about the 99% of them…. You don’t talk to them… how can you call them as your friends… just because they are in your friend’s list ???

Looking at all this, at times a though comes to my mind that if this is the scenario in the span of 6-7 years of the existence of social networking sites, then what will be the scenario after 5 years?

Agreed, technologies and inventions do make our lives easier along with some added pleasures. Though it is up to us, whether to make them become intrusive in our lives… or just stay on the sidelines as helpful tools!

I guess… let technology not master us!

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