The internet is in it's infancy.. It has become a source of awe and mystery.. providing an endless source of information, references, purchases and the ability to even bank at home.
In "becoming" the Information Superhighway, the internet has also found two completely opposite yet inter-related types of people. Two types of people who would, of course, have met "in real life", but who have found the convenience of the internet, to be more than attractive.
The first group of people, who would use the Internet to meet people, are the lonely people. People who, for any number of reasons, have turned to the internet as a source of meeting new people. Whether they be friends, pen pals, activity partners or even possible mates.
The allure of the internet is almost too overwhelming to overcome. The same people, painfully shy, shut ins, geographically distant, could now simply plug in their computers and "talk" to others. Fascination can turn into addiction, for they can "act" like the kinds of people they have always wanted to be. They can have tremendous nerve, great personality, even show off their long-hidden sense of humor for others.
In effect, the real life wallflower is now the life of the Internet party. Unfortunately, most lonely and shy people don't get out much. They aren't aware of the "other" group of people who have found the Internet extremely useful for their "income".
There are no shortage of cons, thieves and scam artists in the real world. Normally, they have to "hunt" for their victims. Seeking elderly, lonely and otherwise isolated people they prey on those who either don't know better, or are so lonely, that the sudden attention and kindness paid them by someone else, somehow wipes out common sense, standard caution.
On the other hand, the Internet Hunter has come home. With the ever growing number of personals and chat sites springing up, the Con Artist or scammer no longer need deal with the harsh reality of slim pickings in the real world. For spread before them in one room are no shortage of new victims. Con artists and scammers have no morals, no conscience. They are acutely aware that the attention they pay to a lonely, or isolated person can and will pay off richly for them. Endearing themselves as friends, lovers, mates, they can and often do rob their "marks" of money, jewelry, credit cards, etc. And, just as in real life, when their welcome is worn out, they move on.
The internet has brought these two groups of people together with such alarming speed, that no one ever stopped to wonder if there should be rules or boundaries in place to protect these would-be victims.
We would all like to believe that the person showing us such desperately wanted attention, flattery and "love" is sincere. To think otherwise would be horrible. How could anyone stake someone else out simply based on their "neediness". But they do. They do it a lot! Once you've lost all you have, they are gone. It's a hard lesson to learn. Police and other agencies have not yet come to accept "net dating" as an acceptable means of meeting someone, and often treat these "net victims" as desperate and deserving of everything they got.. and everything they lost. Of course this is not fair, crime is crime. But until authorities can institute new laws to protect us, this site, it's information, stories and letters, will hopefully achieve that purpose.
Read these stories.. read the letters.. listen with your head rather than your heart. Question yourself often about the person who shows too much too soon.. If you're not sure, ask a friend. If you have no friends, ask someone you trust. If all else fails, ask me.