Dear Diary: Lost in cyberland!

Dear diary

31st May 2018

Ok, so I concede – I have ventured back into cyberland dating.  Match.com lured me back with 600 views and 50-odd winks and 10 or so messages.  I got curious so I paid my dues.  Seems I never learn, as my heart sank at more of the same old same old.  I was also seduced to try eHarmony again after reading a press article about a match to marriage within 9 months.  (I guess I should have checked whether it was a sponsored storyline).  This story caught my eye as he was in the UK and she was in the States.  So, distance romance does work then!  Of course, they were in the 30s age bracket and I’m not quite sure a 50-something is going to meet the man of her dreams in this way.  Heck, I can’t even seem to meet the man-not-of-my-dreams.  I am getting a lot of attention from youngsters though – and if they are canny enough, a bit of banter doesn’t go amiss.

Of course, as soon as distance-guy-fake-gate became the reality rather than a possibility, I tapped off a text to my nice looking sex addict.  That reminds me, my new favourite line in response to anyone trying to engage me in sexy chat is:

If I wanted that kind of chat I have a very nice sex addict on speed dial!

Seriously, I actually did use that line yesterday!

I updated my profiles to take out the spikiness in the hopes of sharing that I don’t really hate men, I don’t think they are all fakes, flakes or frogs – but it doesn’t seem to have made much difference so far.  Ok, so it is not quite 12 hours since I paid up – but a girl is ageing by the minute!  Did I just call myself girl?  Hmmm … my sarcastic retort to one guy calling me girl suggests to me that I have linguistic double standards.

So, I wonder what is in store for me?  Instead of feeling excited at the prospect of getting to know a few new people and the possibility of a date or two, or three, I feel decidedly dejected and depressed.  Am I really here again?  Glutton for punishment does not begin to describe it – I really am unsure as to why I am putting myself through this again.

I did check out what is going on locally to see if there was anything I could rock up to that I might come into contact with a few guys – but nada.  It also seems that I need to live in any other town in the UK to find a nice date.  Without exception, all the guys I like the look of are over 200 miles away!  The cynic in me wonders if the dating sites set their algorithms to only show good matches at a distance!

Oh, a lovely interruption there from my sex-addict-guy:

When can I see you?

I do think he is cute, and I do think that he is a much nicer guy than he pretends to be … and maybe one day I will meet up with him.  Certainly the banter does make me feel a little better and is a distraction from my recent disappointment.  I am not convinced though, that he is not already attached.  A nice looking man in his 40s, single?  It doesn’t make sense.  Dallying with another woman’s man is a step too far and not one I intend to breach.  I have challenged him on this a few times and he assures me he is single as:

I’m not very good at relationships.

Hmmm … that may be due to the sex addiction then.   I do believe that we are all, as  individuals, responsible for our own consciences, however, knowing, or even suspecting that a man is in a committed relationship with another woman is a non-negotiable boundary for me.  Dating on the other hand, I don’t have a problem with a guy seeing other women, as long as he has no problem with me seeing other men (I should be so lucky).  After all, initially, dating is about getting to know someone, trying them out, and seeing whether you want to take things further.

So, dear diary, it looks as though I have jumped back into the mire … ahem … ok, so that attitude is not going to attract many dates.  I will be on my best behaviour, and treat it as the tool it is.  No dear diary, I meant the dating sites, not the guys!

I’ll be sure to let you know how I get on.

Later

Carol xOxO

p.s. I will be soooo grateful when I stop seeing “Siggy” when I glance at Mr Dahl’s pictures – one day at a time, I guess.

 

Dear diary: outing the fakes

Dear diary

29th May 2018 20:15

These images were some of the photos that were used in a romance scam.  The man featured in these pictures is a real person, by the name of Per Gunnar Dahl.  There is no suggestion that he has any connection whatsoever to this scam, and is an innocent party.  From what I have been able to determine, Mr Dahl has a prominent profile in Norway and this is most likely how he has come to the attention of the scammers.

 

 

It is likely that email, Telegram and mobile numbers will be changed, but here is a reminder of those details:

Name used Sigvard Aloisio Torvald, Siggy, Sig
Email s.torvald@outlook.com
Telegram user name @Sigggy
Mobile number +16 0422 77 488
Dating site username Looking4vikingman

Unfortunately, real numbers can be disguised and so I do not know where this scammer is located.

I would ordinarily seek permission to use the images, however, I have been unable to make contact with the real Per Gunnar Dahl.  It is important, I believe, to share these pictures to warn other women.

The copyright for the images remains with Per Gunnar Dahl.

 

Dear Diary: So it did happen again!

Dear Diary

27th May 2018 23:23 

Just as well I am too stingy to part with my cash.  I now have incontrovertible proof that the man (or should I say men) I have been interacting with for the last 5 months is fake!

If you come across a Sigvard Aloisio Torvald then beware – even typing his name feels difficult and wrong as that name is so familiar to me.  This person also uses Looking4Vikingman as a username on dating websites and I came across him on Zoosk.  I know that he also has a profile on Naturalfriends.co.uk although he doesn’t have an image on that one.  He said that he came off Zoosk after we “met” but may actually simply have blocked me so that I could no longer see his profile.  The email he goes by is s.torvald@outlook.com.  He purported to be Norwegian living in Canada and relocating to the UK.  He uses Telegram instant messenger service with the user name @Sigggy and the mobile number he uses is +16 0422 77 488.  Unfortunately it is all too easy to disguise a number these days to look as though it is coming from any country of a scammer’s choosing.

I won’t share the profile pictures here as these are of a real person, and so far I have not found any evidence of multiple profiles using the images.  If you do come across a man with this name though, please do contact me and send me a picture.  I can let you know if it is the same man and also recommend that you do a google reverse image search.  Unfortunately for me, this did not throw up a concern early on when I did this but when I used it again today, I got a hit

Make no mistake, this is big business to these people and they keep going as they do make many millions out of it.  It is organised crime and very slick.

Early on, he even sent me a copy of his passport, which I found particularly strange.  I was already aware though, that a fake passport had been used in one of the #FakeThomas scams and so I was cautious about that.  Never completely trust pictures of identification documents that are sent to you.  The only foolproof is to see that person stood in front of you.

That is all I have to say on the matter, dear diary.  Suffice to say .. I’m off dating permanently!

Later, (maybe)

Carol xOxO

Dear diary: The truth is I will never know

Dear Diary

11th May, 2018

I have talked at length about the role of the amygdala, and how it is excited when stimuli activates it.  I also talked about how, once the stimuli is no longer present, the feelings go away; and that this is the mechanism by which we can feel as though we are in love with someone we have not met.

So why do I feel so sad?  Why does it feel as though there is a physical pain in my chest?  Is it because 4 months down the line, the feelings had become a habit?  It is a well known phenomenon that habits take 21 days to form.  Or is it because I have blown it with a good man?

The sad truth of the matter is that I will never know.  Yes, I am sure I could have handled what happened differently – but to be honest, if the exact circumstances were presented to me again I would have drawn the same assumptions and conclusions – wouldn’t you?  The fact that he may not see it that way is his problem rather than mine.  Ok – so it has caused me a problem – but hey …life goes on.  Right?

I don’t want to become stuck with this.  Is it just me or is there a pathetic irony that the one person that you want to speak to is the one person that you are no longer connected to?  I’m not good at keeping silent when I have something on my mind.  The last thing I want to do is cause further hurt to the other person involved in this sorry saga.  This is drama.  I am creating drama.  I don’t want drama in my life.  I don’t want to be that person causing drama.

So yesterday I took the unprecedented step of deleting our texts, messages and emails.  I removed his number from my phone.  Ok, so I wrote it down and secreted it somewhere that I won’t come across it unless I purposely decide to do so.  I owe it to myself and to him to leave it untouched.

I didn’t share much about my blossoming “relationship” with the people in my life.  Not least because scepticism is a mood killer, but also, because well meaning opinions can lead to disagreements.

So what now?  How do I move on as quickly as possible from the hurt and disappointment?  For that is surely what I have to do as I cannot expect him to forgive me for a third time.  I have decided to let serendipity take the reigns.

Did I make a mistake in not trusting him?  The truth is I will never know.

If love is meant for me, it can come find me as I can no longer put myself through the dilemmas, disappointments and damage that can be online dating.  Yes, I know it works for some.  I am just not one of them.  So, serendipity it is!

Later

Carol xoxo

 

WOW …life goes on

Dear Diary 

Dear diary, I have deleted the image showing the name and picture of the man that I came to believe was fake.  In a moment of clarity ….ok well, I think I will keep that to myself.  I have no wish to cause him any harm.  I am not convinced he is a fake … if he is not, he is incredibly stupid.

4th May 2018

So it has been a struggle the last few days to come to terms with how things have played out with my would-be-distant-paramour.  I knew I had made a HUGE mistake, the problem was … I did not know whether that was in trusting him in the first place or not trusting him.  Not knowing was eating me up inside.

I sent him an email outlining exactly why I believed he fit the “profile”.  I suppose I did this because my heart did not want to believe it was true, and if I was wrong – I wanted him to understand why I was yet again accusing him.

The silence in response was deafening.  If there is one thing worse than not knowing, it is being ignored.  My problem is …if I don’t know 100%, then I have a tendency to pick at the scab to provoke a response.

This morning, I sent the above to him and then deleted the app that we had been exchanging messages on.  I had already deleted it, but as I was struggling with this – I reloaded it hoping to get some kind of acknowledgement from him.

This morning I did … although I no longer had the app, the message came via the browser on my phone.  The message exchange says it all.

IMAGE DELETED

 

In my earlier post I did not reveal his identity.  Even now, I am not entirely convinced that he is fake, and part of me wants to believe that he is saying it to enable me to move on.  Ha!  My critical friend on my shoulder is reminding me not to be such a fool.  I guess it is human nature to hold onto hope.

A last word for the person who took the time to comment on my last post – although I did not authorise it to be shown…. you are entitled to your opinion.  If sharing my story helps to warn other women then I choose to out the fakes.  I know who you are, because I recognise the name and email address.

You need to stop this obsession of catching fake profiles on dating sites.
You were conned. Get over it and get on with your life.

I suppose on one level it is hugely embarrassing to admit that I have been caught out again.  But then, all along I had my doubts – but I did not and will not let this stop me from looking for love.  It just won’t be with anyone that is not able to meet up quickly.

All that is left for me to say, is don’t give up on love.  Don’t let the fakes win.  And above all else, no matter how attached you become – if you haven’t met them – you cannot 100% trust them until you do.

Take care of yourselves, and be safe

Carol xoxo

 

 

Dear Diary: Could it really happen again?

Dear Diary

crying woman 1

1st May, 2018

As I sit in front of my laptop with a heavy heart and feeling sick to my stomach, I am not sure I want to share this with you.

Writing though, is a way for me to deal with uncomfortable issues that refuse to stop swirling through my mind, torturing and mocking me.   You see, dear diary, I think it happened again.

As those of you who have read with me before, you know the sorry tale about the Fake Thomas that duped me back in November of last year.  Once I got over the initial shock, I put my anger to good use and created this blog, my website and Facebook page and groups; all dedicated to warning other women about the perils of dating online.

I have not only put considerable time and effort into this awareness raising campaign, I have parted with hard cash.  I have spent literally hundreds (if not a thousand or so) on paid advertising.  Ironically, the majority to #Facebook who have a woefully inadequate approach to applying their community standards to clearly fake profiles.  I am hoping that the advent of the GDPR regulations will make some difference here – but social media giants have grown into such arrogant entities, I am not holding my breath on that one.  But I digress.

Back to the issue at hand

For those of you who have followed my story, you will know that I “met” a man that was living overseas and claimed to be planning to move to the UK.  You will also know that in the early days I was at the same time blasé and guarded.  I was adamant that I would not put myself in a position where history could repeat itself.  When my fears got the better of me I called out “fake” and metaphorically ran away.  Not once, dear diary, but twice.

So what hooked me back in?  It is difficult to say for certain, but I guess there were two things that influenced my return to the interaction.  Firstly, that he did not respond in a typically “fakerish” way.  He did not disappear.  He did not block me.  He also did not reach out to try to persuade me that I was wrong.  Over a few days, as I saw him updating pictures of his life I wondered if I had made a terrible mistake.

And that leads me to the second reason.  I have so much love in my heart to share with someone.   It is not that I need a relationship to define me – I don’t.  I think there are few of us that would disagree that finding a good relationship can be life enhancing.  And why not?  Why do I have to be the one that lives my life alone when all around me live theirs with a significant other?  But then, it is not about what others have.  It is simply about human connection and sharing the loving heart that I know beats inside me.

Not only that, when we subsequently spoke again, he shared that he was not angry with me – he was simply devastated that I believed he was a fake.  I guess that statement really pulled at my heartstrings.

So what went wrong?

Four months down the line, it felt as though we were in fairly smooth waters.  At the back of my mind, I was not going to truly believe in this until I could stand in front of him and look into his eyes.  After all … I am not gullible.  For those of you guffawing at that remark, let me explain why.  Online dating works.  Not for everyone – but it is the social norm these days.  It would not be the first relationship that developed across the ether and geographical distance.

After all, what creates a relationship?  Largely it is about choice – you choose to take the chance on someone.  You explore whether you share common goals and values.  Finally, you decide whether you really like this person and take the risk of trusting them.  Spending time with someone, whether it be in the same room, on the telephone, or on an internet chat service – bonds develop.

It was also the only option that the universe seemed to be allowing to unfold.  At the  beginning of the year I ventured on some real face to face dates.  You can read the back catalogue if you care to know how those went.

As for how I have ended up here, writing this miserable story – he shared so much with me.  I felt that I knew so much about his life, his hopes and his dreams.  And he had a plan.  From what he said, that plan included me.  I am still not sure whether this has been an elaborate ruse, or whether what he did stemmed from him believing that we were on this journey together and on this basis it was ok to ask for my help.

I have to say, I am pretty devastated.  Not because I may have been caught out again by a fake, as I am not convinced that he is (I am just not ready to believe that yet).  But because I had allowed myself to believe that I had finally found someone special to share my life with.

It is not only heartbreaking, it is bloody embarrassing.  I had started to share my  excitement with friends and family.  I have not spoken to anyone in my day to day world about what has happened.  It is too raw.  Sure, they may be aware of this blog, and they may pick it up and read it.  I’m ok with that.  I do not though, want anyone’s pity, well meaning opinions or any well intentioned advice.  I simply want to lick my wounds with dignity.

I made my choice – I decided to trust.  That it didn’t work out is unfortunate.  This will not beat me.  I do think though, that I am off dating for a while!

For those of you who haven’t guessed already, here is what pushed my buttons enough for me to walk way

Throughout the four months that I have been interacting with this guy, he had told me about a contract that he intended to bid for.  It was worth a lot of money, but he had to find 50% of the mobilisation costs, which was up from the typical 30%.  This amounted to some 1.2 million dollars.  He shared a lot of information with me, together with contract documents.  I did find this a bit strange – but hey everything looked legit.

He was short of a couple of hundred thousand .. and he told me that he had reached out to friends and family and that he had whittled the shortfall down to 67,000.   The other detail isn’t really relevant, as I am sure you get where this is going.

A few days ago, I received an email from him – full of woe, and saying that he felt terrible, but if his last ditch attempt at raising the additional funds failed – he might be asking me to help him out.  My return email was very clear – No.  Regardless of whether I had that kind of money or not, I would not give him money based on the fact that we had not actually met.

He apologised, and told me that he had spoken to his sister about my response, and she had told him in no uncertain terms that she understood my reaction.

Needless to say, the discomfort that I was feeling would not go away.  I had just started to settle down about it when  I received this message:

Hi sweetie, can you raise $2-3,000 for me?  I will refund.

It goes without saying, I have cut all ties.  I do not want to believe that someone could enter into a deception for 4 months, but I have to face facts.  I just don’t want to believe it.  Regardless – he is gone.

Later,

Carol xoxo

Revisiting some of my older blog posts, I came across this:

 

Who knows what the future holds for any of us – all I know is that sometimes you have to take a leap of faith and just jump off that safe bridge, and trust that whatever you find at the bottom – you can handle it; good, bad or indifferent.

leasp of faith

Love Guru: Why do women fall in love with a man they have never met & are they really in love?

This article originally appeared on the Relationship Guru website 12th February 2018 http://www.cassiejordan.co.uk/blog

 

I love you baby

We hear so many stories of women falling in love with men they haven’t met, only to discover that he his a fake and a snake, after they have handed over their hard earned (or borrowed) money in response to whatever sob story he has suckered them with – and then either never heard from him again, or were asked for yet more. 

Now this is something that I really didn’t think could happen to me.  I bet you are saying the same thing aren’t you?  Certainly, I would never hand over money to some person I have never met – heck, I have a hard time handing money over to anyone I know let alone a perfect stranger!   I can though, appreciate why women find themselves in the position of loving a man they have never met.  Why do I say this?  I say this because last year, I thought I was in love – with a man I had never met.  If you want to know more about that particular story, hop over to www.fakedating.blog

It is all in the head

No seriously, it quite literally is.  The part of our brain that is responsible for our emotions, the amygdala, controls how we feel.  Excite the amygdala, and we get a rush of emotions. 

Love talk, which is used by the fakes, flakes and even sometimes the frogs, (look out for that article later), has the power to have us swooning over every word, begging for more and quite literally, out of our minds.  This is what the n’er-do-wells rely on.  In fact, I have it on good authority that scammers have a training package around “how to make a woman fall in love with you”.   How do I know this?  Not all scammers are that bright.  One of them sent a link for the training to a woman he was trying to dupe!

Power of words

All it takes is a little bit of caring, a little bit of sharing – and a lot of attention.  Why wouldn’t any woman have their head turned?  In my own situation, as soon as the stimulation that was exciting my amygdala was removed, the feelings more or less went away.  Ok, so there were some residual feelings: disappointment, shock, anger.  Certainly I was bonded to the face in the pictures and videos that had been used to dupe me.

So what is it, apart from the action of our brain in response to some gooey words, that makes us fall for it?  Are we all susceptible to being fooled by fake-love talk?  Or are some of us immune to it?

The scammers target a specific profile

To consider this, I think it is useful to look at the profile of the types of women who fall for this.  Wait a minute – before you dismiss them as being sad, lonely types with half a brain – it is worth mentioning that there have been plenty of stories in the press of business women and highly educated women being duped.   I myself consider myself to be well educated – and nobody’s fool.  Granted – I didn’t part with any cash and would have not looked back over my shoulder as I muttered “cheerio pet”.  Ok ..so even though I am from the North East of England, I would never say “cheerio pet” – and in the circumstances, I am more likely to mutter some profanity and not so flattering adjectives to describe any such scammer.

Love is a many splendoured thing

Certainly my generation – I just missed the baby boomers; and apparently I am of the Jones Generation.  Never heard of it before, but this essentially this what it is:

“Acquisitive, ambitious, achievement-oriented, cynical, materialistic (a reference to the expression ‘keeping up with the Joneses’). Generation Jones is predominantly a US concept, overlapping and representing a sub-group within the Baby Boomer and Gen-X generations.”

Ok, well, ahem.  Not sure I QUITE fit into that modality, but let’s move on.

Getting back to my generation – we were brought up pretty much with the stereotypical role models of man, woman, love, marriage, family.  Not necessarily in that order.  Aside from the societal norms around being in a relationship, love, is a basic human need.

Many of the women that I speak to through my Fakedating forum, are women of a certain age.  They are widowed, divorced, grandmothers, singletons.  What many of them seem to have in common is that they are – lonely, put upon and overlooked.

Women of a certain age tend to have many responsibilities thrust upon them.  They are caregivers for their adult children, their grandchildren, their elderly parents.  They may even be in a marriage that does not serve their emotional needs well.

Let me just say, before you jump to conclusions – that I do not really fit into any of the above descriptors.  I am definitely not lonely, and as a singleton I don’t have responsibility for others – except of course for my dog.    

You don’t need a man to define you

I would hazard a pretty accurate guess, that what is different between myself and a lot of the women who fall for guys they have never met, is that my self esteem is pretty intact.  I don’t need the validation from another human being that some of these women seek.  It is a sad fact, that even today, many women feel as though they don’t have a life unless they have a man in it.

My self determination has never originated from a man.  Just as well really, as I have spent a great deal of my adult life as a singleton, with the odd interlude.  Heck, I nearly married the same man twice!

So why do I make this sweeping statement about the self esteem of the women who tend to fall for these fakes?  I do this because some of the women I speak to go back time and again.  Even with solid proof that the guy that is romancing them is fake – they refuse to believe it.  It isn’t just women of a certain age either, I recently had contact from a young woman who wanted to know if there was a future for her relationship with a man who lived in a different country. 

In this case, they had met a couple of times.  He hadn’t scammed her out of money, but she had coughed up for some not so cheap expenses – I will let you be the judge of his motives for keeping that connection going.

There is more than one reason 

So you see, it is not as straightforward as saying that women who get suckered in by these men are just lonely.  My guess, is the young lady that reached out to me found it easier to have a remote relationship to meet her need for emotional connectedness.  I can’t say for sure why this is as that would only become evident through coaching – and of course, I would not be discussing that here in specific terms. 

My suggestion to the young lady that contacted me, was that she may benefit from some personal development to understand why she chooses a distant relationship over a tangible relationship in her everyday life.  

 

Dating in the age of technology

Finding love is never easy, particularly when you are older.  The options on how to do this are very different from when I was a young woman.  Then, you socialised with friends, and scouted for potential suitors.  A bit of flirting and bob’s your uncle – you had a date. 

These days – it is all about swiping, hooking up and endless, repeated conversations as you try to find your prince amongst the inevitable fakes, flakes and frogs.

It is not a lost cause though – you just need to keep your wits about you.

I’ll sign off here, but look out for more of my articles in the coming weeks.  If anything I have written about here is of interest to you, please comment like and share.  You can also check out our social media groups if you would like to connect with like minded women, and get up to date tips on how to stay safe dating online.

Cheerio for now.

Cassie

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