The Dark Side of Online Dating

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For years, I have been on and off dating sites , including Lavalife, POF, Tinder and Bumble. I’ve learned much about the scams out there and the disinterest several of the big companies have towards protecting their legitimate clients. Criminals take advantage of the security gaps dating sites provide. I hope my experiences will help you spot fraudulent dating accounts and avoid being a target.

My first eye opener happened several years ago. I was not able to log into my Match account, so I contacted their support department who said my account was hacked and taken over by someone else. With a new password I re-accessed my account and found that my pictures were replaced to show another man, the status was changed to widower, and the city was changed to Oshawa. I also saw incoming messages from women who were ready to meet for a date.  I warned the women about the hack and told them not to meet with the person.  I reported the fraud, but unfortunately, Match did not seem interested in the details, accused me of giving out my password (really!!!), and refused to refund me the membership fee. I can only hope that the scammer did not actually meet up with anyone. For this reason, I would never recommend Match to anyone.  The following statistics show some scary facts of online dating.

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A friend of mine actually opened up a false account by retrieving a picture of an attractive woman on Australian social media so that she could see if the guy she was “exclusively dating” would ask her fake profile out on a date. She was able to lure the guy with her fake profile and set him up by arranging a date. Proving that he was not planning to be “exclusive”, my friend had the guy drive about an hour out of town to a location for a date, but obviously that girl, nor my friend ever showed up. Later that night she broke up with the guy.

I too was communicating with what I later learned was a Nigerian dating scam profile which used pictures of Talia Shepard. Apparently, this porn actresses’ photo is used by many scammers to lure guys, like me. The on-site conversations were quickly continued on direct messaging. There were several “red flags” suggesting that something was not right, especially in hindsight. The “a-ha” moment came when I was asked to provide some money for her travel to Ottawa because she claimed having credit card problems. That’s when I did Google Images reverse check and found out I was dealing with a scam.

If ever you come across an online dating scam, I recommend reporting it to police and

There are likely thousands of attempted romance scams. Are you willing to share an experience you had?

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Can Anything Positive Be Said About Trolls?

We’ve all seen their comments, on our social media posts, customer reviews, or following an on-line news story.  I’m talking about the people who leave comments that either demean, insult, or attack people for their political views, sexual orientation, race and religious views. It appears as if many may do it simply for the shock value. Some may have extremist views, and the intent of many others will always be a mystery.

Happy Troll

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According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, an internet troll is defined as “to antagonize (others) online by deliberately posting inflammatory, irrelevant, or offensive comments or other disruptive content”.

So, what is the best way to respond to a troll’s comment on our social media posts? And, can anything positive come out of it? I believe this decision can make or break the mission of your social media site because a response is a reflection of the social brand. Here are a few of my suggestions:

Do Nothing

Sometimes the best action is no action at all, since it may make the situation worst. However, if this is done too often, the posts will come across as not being personal and real enough.

Consider Thanking Them

No matter how bad the comment, thank them for visiting your site…. However, some situations may require a tad more finesse.

Just the Facts

If available and necessary, just give them information that is factual, so they’ll have nothing to argue back.

Find Common Ground

If there if something you agree on, point it out and maybe this will allow you to divert the real issue that was addressed.

Laugh It Out

If appropriate, jokingly admit that he is right.

If All Else Fails

If the comments seem too severe and the troll truly scares you, don’t take chances and block the troll from your site. Many platforms provide easy to use instructions on how to do this. you are using.

By not shying away and responding to the troll in a non-condescending manner, something good may happen. We have to remember that there is a real person typing the comments. Just as we can’t tell what is in the mind of people we see in person, we can much less on the internet. It is possible that they may have been triggered by a word on a post which led to them ranting. Or, maybe it’s a child, or someone with mental health issues.

By using whatever strategy works for you, if you end the rant, receive a respectful comment at the end, or simply receive a like from the troll, this is a major win for you. Not only will you earn the respect of others who have seen the comments and your response, but you will feel awesome.

Do you agree? Have you ever had to deal with a troll on one of your social media sites? If so, how did that end?

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Read how this guy deals with trolls and actually has fun with it.

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The Twitter hashtag #trolls provides several troll stories. Maybe we can learn a few tricks by seeing how other people deal with trolls.

What Happens Once Live Streaming Really Takes Off?

A few years ago, as I was on a long road trip from Miami to Ottawa, I was listening to a random TEDxTalk which described live streaming events in Norway described by Thomas Hellum. I was fascinated to hear how 3.2 million viewers watched the live streaming from cameras attached at the front of a ship as it sailed from one end of Norway to the other. The producers called it Slow TV, a way for people to slow down the hectic pace of everything else in their lives and truly appreciate being in the moment to appreciate what they are seeing and feeling.

Figure 1 The route taken by the live-streaming ship described in the TEDxTalk. Retrived from

Figure 2. Coastal scenery, as seen by live-streaming viewers on the TedxTalk. Retrieved from

Today, many live streaming platforms exist, including those on YouTube Live, Facebook Live, Twitch, Younow and Periscope. I often look at Periscope just to see what people are putting on their live streams. It’s funny and strange to see that people will put anything on. I’ve seen people eating their morning cereal, filming newsworthy incidents like fires, and young drunk people live streaming themselves while sitting on a sofa. The ones producing the videos will respond and interact to comments typed in by viewers. The site has an interactive map tab to allow us to see all the active live streams around the world on the platform. Although it does not really seem to have much of interest going on at this time, I do see a lot of potential in its future. I find Periscope and other live streaming sites to be fascinating.

I believe that live streaming will be keep growing to the point that we will be able to explore all corners of the world and experience any type of extreme adventure. We will be able to join people and have a first person perspective as they climb places like Mount Kilimanjaro, participate in a marathon as if we were actually in the race, feel the excitement of every bump as our country’s Olympic skier maneuvers through moguls trying for that gold medal. Senior citizens, paraplegics or anyone will be able to put on Google Glasses and be able to enjoy the scenery as someone motorcycles through the mountainous twisty roads in the Andes. Viewers will be able to do activities and see the world as if they were there.

Live streaming through the first- person perspective will provide us the opportunity to appreciate the moment without the need to do anything else. Simply enjoy the ride. At a time when multitasking is a norm, live streaming will allow us to escape and enjoy an experience of our choosing, whether or not we are physically capable of doing it.


The Art of Being Real on Social Media

Just like a blank canvas, when starting on social media, painting an expression of your true persona, does have its challenges. Will you truly express your feelings in what you are writing? Will your comfort level on the platform allow this? And, will you honestly convey your passions for all the world to see? Hurdles identified in these questions prevent us from being “Real” online and show who we really are. There are likely many thoughts on the challenges and how to get around them, but here are my thoughts on how to paint a true picture of yourself on social media platforms:

Half truths don’t paint the full picture.

Source: Pixabay

State of One’s Mental Health

We all feel certain degrees of anxiety and depression and it is unlikely that many comfortably blog about them without any worries. Also, what if the writer has been diagnosed with something like social anxiety disorder or major depressive disorder? These writers can become anxious writing about their vulnerabilities and may be depressed after receiving negative feedback on social media. Their greatest fears may happen after they click a post, and consequently worsen their conditions.  Although mental health is being recognized and accepted in today’s societies, movements like Bell Let’s Talk Day  do little to help those suffering from these afflictions to post as easily as ones without. If they do post, how likely are they to post how they really feel? Therefore, ignoring our mental state of mind is one of the requirements for being real on social media.

Exposing Oneself

We all have our little secrets, vulnerabilities, quirks, and qualities that we may express in front of a certain people in our lives, but we would likely feel embarrassed if others knew. In order to be our real selves online, we need to feel confident enough to allow social media platforms with true transparency into our lives. Readers would become aware of all our rational and irrational fears, insecurities, and mistakes we’ve ever made. If someone can be so transparent, they may be the real deal.

Mocking people’s inabilities to expose their real identity, “If People Were Honest On Their Dating Profiles” from YouTube, states the funny truth.

Maneuvering Technology

Hesitations before pressing the “post” button are not necessarily a sign of OCD. A plethora of mistakes can be made. Oversights, as small as spelling errors, to posts being placed on the wrong site, can create anxieties. Non-tech savy people fear working on social media where anyone around the world can see them and their mistakes. Therefore, they would be prevented from posting attempts at showing their real self.

So, How’s it Done?

Social Media allows people to evaluate someone’s character with a few online clicks. Many with the right balance of comfort posting online, mental health, and ability to describe all they do, can say that they project their “True Selves” online. This my friends, is impossible. No one would ever want that type of scrutiny. If you agree with me, let me know why people can’t project their “real” self. If you disagree, I’d like to know who you think is online exactly as they are in real life.


This Twitter user has no shame in admitting why she has a false profile.


Here’s a Facebook Honest People Group. I guess that’s where they’re hiding.

  1. Bell Lets Talk Days,
  2. Buzzfeed Video, YouTube, “If People Were Honest On Their Dating Profiles”, November 9, 2014.