The Dark Side of Online Dating

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According to The National, there are as many as 40 million singles from the United States who are looking for love on social networking sites and online dating services. With the recent bad press online personals has received lately due in large part of several murderers meeting their victims through Craigslist, The National decided to take a further look at the dangerous side of online dating.

The article brought up several cases, including the 2 Craigslist ones mentioned above.

In April a Boston medical student, Philip Markoff, dubbed the “Craigslist killer” by the media, was arrested and charged with murdering a masseuse who advertised on the popular website’s erotic services section.

Two months later Craigslist was hit with another scandal when it emerged that a North Carolina man used the site to hire a man to rape his wife while the husband watched.

Other legal cases mentioned as well included ones which dealt with sex crimes and people being swindled out of large sums of money. MySpace was also referred too, specifically the incident from last February when they cancelled over 90,000 user accounts on its site which were linked to sex offenders. MySpace has over 130 million members in total and the United States has 1 million registered sex offenders. So while only 0.07 percent of users where sex offenders on MySpace, almost 10 percent of known sex offenders where actually using the social networking site.

The national media recently seems to love to cover crimes in which deal with people using social networking and dating sites, so they have received more attention than other similar crimes not connected to the internet. While you do have to be careful when you are online, your safety concerns are not really any different than when you are trying to meet people at bars or clubs. In fact, it probably is safer on a dating site, since you have the buffer zone of the internet to size someone up through communication and photos, before you decide to go out on a first date. Plus, with bars and clubs alcohol also has a chance of affecting your judgment of character.

For more on the story, visit The National.