- Social networking
- Scammers target lonely hearts on dating sites | Money | The Guardian
- What is Catfish: The TV Show and what does it teach us about online dating?
Fraud officers are investigating 30 cases where people looking for partners have been scammed, often pawning jewellery and taking out loans as a result of the elaborate hoaxes. In a typical scam, the fraudster identifies potential victims through a dating site. He then tailors his personality to suit what the victim is looking for, for example a man in the army, and then finds a picture of someone in the military from the internet, which he will use in his profile.
Compliments are usually offered and questions asked of the woman so that the fraudster can ascertain how much money the woman has and whether the scam is worth pursuing. In the vast majority of cases it is women who are the victims, although there has the been the occasional male.
The fraudster will aim to take the person offline, to coax them away from the confines of the dating site and continue the relationship via Skype or email. This is an attempt to isolate the victim, he said, and contact will go from a couple of messages a day to constant emailing. In many cases, the scammer will say he is working abroad and wants to meet the victim. But there will be something stopping him, such as a hospital visit. The convicted fraudster Agbonifoayetan posed as a diplomat called Christopher Williams and used a forged United Nations diplomatic card to collect money from two women who had been persuaded that a marine called General James Krulak in one case and General James Raul in the other wanted to move to the UK and marry them.
Miles says that after coaxing the victims offline, the typical fraudster will ask for money after a couple of weeks, initially for small amounts. He may say he expects to come to the UK in the coming weeks but plans will be interrupted for some reason — such as a hospital bill being more than expected — and more money will be requested. Identifying women who have the money to make the fraud worthwhile is the result of an elaborate series of questions designed to elicit the key financial information. In some cases, the victims may be unknowingly talking to more than one person and being asked a set list of questions.
Victims are typically women aged from their mids to mids and looking for companionship. Their operation can be a large-scale skimming exercise, trying the same fraud on 20 or 30 people at any one time in the hope of securing a victim. The money, when transferred, sometimes goes through UK or US bank accounts — in order to give the scheme some credibility — but frequently ends up in west African countries including Ghana and Nigeria, Miles says. Some of the scammers operate in the UK and they are highly organised, with many people working together, although there is no evidence of a single overall structure behind the scams, Miles says.
Among the problems the police face in identifying the fraudsters is the stigma attached to falling for such a scheme. Other sites depend on advertising for their revenue.
Some sites such as OkCupid. Some sites are broad-based, with members coming from a variety of backgrounds looking for different types of relationships. Other sites are more specific, based on the type of members, interests, location, or relationship desired. However, market share was increasingly growing by several large commercial services, including Personals. By , many prominent studies show that Baby Boomer interest in online dating have soared. Some online dating websites provide webcam chats between members.
As online dating's population becomes larger, sites with specific demographics are becoming more popular as a way to narrow the pool of potential matches. Successful niche sites pair people by race, sexual orientation or religion. In , one of the "hottest trends in online dating" was the babyboomers on the top dating sites. Since , several free dating sites, operating on ad based-revenue rather than monthly subscriptions, have appeared and become increasingly popular.
Several newer sites such as OkCupid. Due to the level of competition between free dating sites, as well as the overall drop in traffic to and revenue for dating sites generally,   some sites are branching out into self-service advertising. Especially popular in Eastern Europe, some sites offer full access to messaging and profiles, but provide additional services for pay, such as bumping profiles up to the top of the list, removing advertisements, making paying users' profiles appear several times in different places in the search results, and giving paying users a more advanced search engine to work with in one example, free users may only search for persons of specified age, gender, orientation, and city, while subscribers may search for any and all parameters listed in profiles, such as height, weight, interests, etc.
Also, this model generally allows users to switch between free and paying status at will and without having to do anything, simply providing advanced features for a set period of time whenever the according payment is received. Ease of payment is also generally higher, with such sites accepting a variety of online currencies, letting users charge the payment to their cellular phones, etc. Such sites earn revenue from a mix of advertising and sale of additional options.
Online daters may have more liberal social attitudes compared to the general population in the United States. Research about social networking reveals that the online dating services driven by subscriptions offer the least amount of social networking opportunities. The dating services modeled on the free-at-the-point-of-use model scored much higher as many of them utilized the Circle of Friends social networking method and a wider number of online community genres.
The highest scoring dating service was Facebook , which uses the personal homepage genre, the message board genre, the weblog and directory genre, as well as utilizing the Circle of Friends. The second highest scoring, Second Life utilizes virtual worlds, message boards, chat groups and profile pages to allow people to contact in a three-dimensional environment.
More recently, the impact of social networking on online dating has been featured on the Questia online research website peer reviewed article ""I Luv U: A Descriptive Study of the Media Use of Individuals in Romantic Relationships"  In comparison to Facebook and Second Life, there are other popular platforms that rank in the top 15 social networks. Apart from the popular social networks, there are social websites meant just for meeting and talking to someone new.
Plenty of Fish , OkCupid , and Tastebuds. A German documentary analyzed the market and uncovered multiple problems of online dating sites. Amongst them are "romance-scamming" persons registering on the sites to get money from people falling in virtual love with them , using controllers or animators registered with multiple fake accounts, using unexpected and sometimes unlawful conditions in the terms and conditions leading to longer contracts a client intended to sign.
In Germany government financed NGOs like "Verbraucherschutzzentrale" sometimes help to sue online dating sites. Hosts Nev Schulam and Max Joseph Search out potential couples who have only had online correspondence but have never met in person. The show is based on finding these "catfish" and exposing them for fakes or finding out that the mystery person is actually real.
The web has had a reputation as a place where anonymity is permitted.
Scammers target lonely hearts on dating sites | Money | The Guardian
However, social networking sites tend to encourage greater degrees of transparency. Users are required to create a profile, which helps to establish an online identity. Over time a user's sum total of online activities paint a picture of who that user may be but we don't always question this information. We tend to forget that we see what others want us to see when it comes to crafting an identity. Following the introduction of online dating sites such as OkCupid.
This developed from the new networked age of dominant technological behaviors as defined by Yochai Benkler's theory on the networked information economy. Based on Benkler's theory, the new networked information economy "has created new opportunities for how we make and exchange information, knowledge and culture" Benkler 2. It requires users to brand themselves as products that other users would potentially want to buy or more accurately get to know better based on how they market themselves differently than every other individual looking for companionship on the site. Adam Arvidsson outlines the methodology in which people must all separate themselves from one another but still be undeniably homogenized in behavior: This poses ethical questions of how one can accurately portray one's entire personality and life experience into a set word limit.
The Huffington Post suggests the importance of self-branding in the modern day "Everyone, whether you recognize it or not, already has a 'personal brand. Linkedin recognizes the social rules of self-branding and its importance on online dating in which one must appear professional yet fun. Online dating sites illustrate how the modern world centers around a money economy, as individuals are in essence able to buy love.
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Thus, the main premise of online dating sites is to find one's "perfect match"—the person whom one will inevitably fall in love with and thus, spend the rest of your life with. In order to find this person, they use various questions, scales and polls to find someone who they deem to be compatible with you. For many individuals, this precise calculation of determining suitable matches offers an implied higher degree of success and eliminates the need to look for new relationships outside the home, consequently saving time and energy.
Online dating sites have taken advantage of the modern individual's desire to save time in their hectic life in order to successfully commercialize their product in our capital-based society. In an editorial post titled "Why you should never pay for online dating", a founder of free dating site OkCupid. Through the abundance of information on online dating profiles, as well as elsewhere on the Internet, people may already possess much superficial information about their potential partner's interests before talking to them, which may lead to a false sense of security when meeting up with a new person.
Impression management is a large component of online dating profiles. In a study, many participants stated that they often found themselves scrutinizing over what to write in their description and private messages, often first composing the piece on a word processing document to ensure proper spelling. Participants reported explicitly considering how they would be perceived by others, deeply analyzing themselves in order to appeal to others. A problematic component of online dating is the ease of lying it allows for, due to the anonymity of the Internet. Many stories have involved someone meeting up with a new online partner, only to find they look nothing like their profile photo.
Often, online daters find it difficult to balance "accuracy and desirability in self-presentation". Individuals are concerned about how to present their own identity to attract partners, since they know their profile will be deeply scrutinized by others;  thus, they often try to display the best photos of themselves and describe themselves in favourable ways to portray themselves in the best possible light to attract the most number of people. Often the lies are slight,  but these still illustrate the difference that new media has created in relationships.
Recently, new online dating services have been created specifically for those living with HIV and other STI in an effort to eliminate the need to lie about one's health in order to find a partner. These website help to protect both parties involved in online dating.
What is Catfish: The TV Show and what does it teach us about online dating?
The increased use of online dating websites and services, thanks to a greater sense of acceptance by the mainstream, reinforces the "hyper-casual approach" to dating through the large number of potential dates that arise, which can cause people to have a sense of "FOMO" fear of missing out , thus choosing to enlist a speed-dating approach in order to cycle through potential mates quickly. Often, this leads to much more casual dates than would have occurred previously, mirroring "online job applications [allowing] you [to] target many people simultaneously—it's like darts on a dart board, eventually one will stick".
Gay rights groups have complained that certain websites that restrict their dating services to heterosexual couples are discriminating against homosexuals. Homosexual customers of the popular eHarmony. In addition, many sites require members to specify what sex they are looking for without having the option "both", which complicates things for bisexuals. Many sites also require members to specify themselves as "male" or "female", complicating matters for transgender people as well as some persons with intersex conditions.
Less than half of Internet daters are open to dating people of all races.