After decades of being hobby-less, I am happy to announce that I now have a hobby: I report scammers on dating websites.
It might not be as fun a hobby as, say, collecting stamps or crocheting decorative covers for cushions, but it is rather satisfying nevertheless, in a flapping flies kind of way.
On a dating website, a scammer is someone who pretends to be a legitimate user of the website, builds rapport with you online, then attempts to persuade you to send them money, obtain personal or financial information about you , or redirect you to another website which may require payment or download unsafe software onto your computer.
Scams can be very sophisticated and scammers will go to great lengths to build a relationship with you, spending a lot of time communicating with you and perhaps even telling you they love you and sending you gifts.
There is hardly anyone more vulnerable than a middle-aged divorcee.One of the most common techniques is to build up trust with the person by messaging for weeks or even months before suddenly having an emergency - the fake person being mugged but their daughter needing urgent surgery, for example - and asking for money.But then they suddenly need money for rent too, then food, then medical fees, and it can quickly escalate.Many of us, though heartbroken and lonely, still entertain hope of finding new love.It takes guts to expose your deepest desires in an online community that many consider a bit dubious.