Safety

Sexual Blackmailers on Sugar Daddy Dating Sites

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ABC News has posted an article about sexual blackmailers using Sugar Daddy dating sites. They mainly refer to the Stephen Dent case which we had talked about previously in this story. A few more things we learned about the dating site which Dent used called Seeking Arrangement is, they have about 360 thousand members who the average age of a sugar daddy is 45 and a female sugar baby is 26.

A standard form email was also found in a 2007 police report which Dent used to send his potential companions. Here are a few excerpts:

I can only meet during the weekdays around midday. In general I am not available at night or during the weekends. Furthermore, we would need to meet only when my wife is away ... Regarding your financial assistance, my initial thoughts are cash compensation in the range of $2,000 to $3,000 per meeting ... If you are interested in relocating, I will pay for your moving expenses and switch you over to a monthly allowance which would cover your expenses.

Dent is definitely not subtle in his intentions. He ultimately did not get charged for paying money for sex as the police were not interested in potentially scaring away more blackmailed victims. Dent is currently in therapy and is moving forward with support from his wife (who did not leave him over the incident) and family.

For the full story, check out ABC News and for more details about Stephen Dent from the paper who originally broke the story, visit the Greenwich Time.

Dupont Heir Extorted 3 Times on a Sugar Daddy Site

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Stephen Dent, a 54 year old, married, DuPont Heir with an estimated fortune of $100 million was extorted out of $150,000 in total, 3 separate times, on a dating site for Sugar Daddies. Stephen Dent is the great grandson of once DuPont CEO, Alfred Irénée du Pont. According to police reports, Stephen had willing, paid more than $200,000 for hotel, gifts and web chats to woman who used the wealthy dating website SeekingArrangement.com.

In three cases, court records claim, the women or associates of theirs blackmailed Dent for nearly $150,000 by threatening to expose his philandering, which one defense lawyer reportedly said included "vile and vulgar" acts.

Even after a man pleaded guilty to larceny and was sentenced to over a year in jail in March of 2008, Mr. Dent continued to use Seeking Arrangement. Twice more he made blackmail payments too, two separate couples to hide the fact from his family and friends he was using the site to meet woman and have sex.

Related Story: A Down-and-Dirty Marketplace

Is a Jail Term Possible for Online Dating Fibbers?

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I saw this article on December 1st at CNet News. It talks about a recent ruling regarding a cyber bullying, suicide and MySpace.

The specifics of the Lori Drew case are messy and emotional. The important fact is that there is no federal cyber bullying statute, so the U.S. attorney in Los Angeles turned to a novel interpretation of existing computer hacking laws to try to punish the woman. The general idea is that in creating terms of service, a Web site owner specifies the rules of admission to the site. If someone violates any of those contractual terms, the "access" to the Web site is done without authorization, and is thus hacking.

A jury found Lori guilty of 3 misdemeanor violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. This means she could get up to $300,000 in fines and a year in prison.

At the moment, (unless it gets overturned) using this case as a example, a websites Terms of Service currently have the power of US federal hacking laws. As the article points out most companies have strict Terms of Service. Google is used as an example. Their terms do not allow people under the age of 18 to use any of Google's services. Which 17 year old and under teen exactly follows this term? You would be hard press to find one. Most dating sites have strict policies as well. You are not suppose to join Match.com if you are married and eHarmony forbids members from lying in their profiles. Breaking these rules in theory classifies you as a computer hacker which mean you could potentially be charged.

Read MySpace ruling could lead to jail for lying online daters for the full story.

Your Privacy and Posting on the Internet

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Young people (and some older ones as well) need to remember that whatever you post on the internet will then be available forever. It doesn't matter if it is a text message, a picture or a video, it most likely will be replicated on other websites. Sites like YouTube, MySpace and Facebook are extremely popular and some postings on these sites have ended up haunting people. More and more, employers, police and institutions are using these sites to see how people they are interested in, are behaving. A few court cases have even used pictures from these social networking sites as evidence in criminal court. You of course also have to watch out for your camera happy friends who like to post pictures on the internet. You may not have posted it but sites like Facebook still let you link pictures of people with their member accounts.

Just remember posting a picture of yourself doing something funny may seem like a great idea now but, will it still be funny in 5 or 10 years when you are trying to get hired for an important job?

For more insight on your privacy and internet posting, plus examples of legal cases where pictures from the internet are used, check out Canada.com.

Most Background are Checks Easy to Bypass

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Dave at Online Dating Insider has a comment about this at Iovation (a company that deals with preventing fraud) which talks about how easy it is to bypass most background checks. I agree with Dave that background check and fraud detection companies should work together. I also see the need for the concept of something like OpenID to be expanded further to allow for additional information (that could be verified) to be available to sites that ask for it (if the user approves it of course). This way, you could log into multiple dating services with the same account and you would only need your personal ID information verified once.

For those of you who don't know what OpenID is, it allows you to use the same username and password across different websites. This helps reduce the number of usernames and passwords you have to remember plus, it helps people expand their internet presence (ie you know Joe from the one website is the same one from another, if it uses the same OpenID account). A number of popular websites support this including MySpace, Yahoo and many WordPress sites. More information on OpenID can be found at this website.

New Poll Suggests Half of Us have used the Internet to look up Someone

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Apparently about half the adults online have looked either themselves up or someone else on the internet according to the findings of the Pew Internet & American Life Project. I find this a little surprising. I expected the percentage to be a lot higher, especially if we are just talking about people who use the internet on a regular basis. I don't know of anyone who hasn't typed their name into Google to see what comes up.

It's also a good idea to do before you meet someone for the first time on a date. It could give you a little bit of insight on their life. Just remember there is a lot of people out in the world with the same name!

More information about this survey can be found at SFGate.com.