Safety

Woman Kidnapped by Man She Met on Craigslist

Safety
  • Saturday, May 30 2009 @ 01:54 pm
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  • Views: 9,232

The Online Dating Insider, David Evans, was quoted in an article on the Washington DC radio station website for WTOP about online dating safety. Apparently another woman last weekend was kidnapped on a date by a man she met on Craigslist.

In the Fairfax County incident, the 23-year-old woman on her third date with Dennis Rother. Police say while at her Fair Lakes apartment Saturday, Rother ordered the woman to undress, threatened her with knives then told her to get dressed and forced her into the car. Her erratic driving caught the attention of a George Mason University police officer. He followed her and she was able to flee at a stop light.

I believe this is the third reported incident in the last month or so of a woman getting kidnapped or murdered by someone they met through Craigslist.

For more on the story and some pointers on how to be safe on a first date visit WTOP.com.

The Difference in Background Checks, Identity Verification & Reputation

Safety
  • Sunday, May 24 2009 @ 09:45 am
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  • Views: 3,464
Background Checks and Identity Verification on members of dating sites have been getting a lot of attention in the media over the last year or so. This attention came to the forefront due mainly to New Jersey passing legislation called the Internet Dating Safety Act, which requires dating sites to notify visitors who live in New Jersey if they conduct criminal background checks or not on members.

Criminal Background Checks and Identity Verification both require the user to submit additional information so a search can be done. One of the many problems with most Criminal Background Checks is they don't verify the identity of the member they are dealing with. I am sure most criminals, especially when the dating site promotes the fact that they do criminal background checks, do not give out their real information. They will either give fake information or just find a name and address on the internet and pass that off for their own. Scanning criminal databases for a fake user will just return zero results, which to them means the member passed the check. The other problem with criminal background checks is (at least in the United States and Canada), there are hundreds of law enforcement databases out there and most are not communicating with each other. So, if the crime is not Federal then the chances it will be found remains small by most Background Check services.

Identity Verification relies on public record databases to do the job. Usually users are required to give their name, address and birthday. From there the verification service will search government databases for your information. When found, the service will ask you additional information on file to ensure the identity is yours. These additional questions are not always the same for every person. Questions can include, if you are married, your occupation and where you work, to the name of a relative. If this is all completed successfully then the user will have a verified status. The problem of Identity Verification services is websites like Intelius (US only) offer the same information to the general public from the same government databases for as low as a couple of bucks. A scammer could just perform one of these searches before he has to do an Identity Verification on a website.

The third type of related product is a Trust or Reputation service like the one from Iovation called ReputationManager. Here it is not necessarily the user who is trusted but the computer or electronic device they use. A unique ID is generated for each device (how this ID is generated is kept secret), and from their they can track if any previous fraudulent or suspicious activities have happen before on the computer. This can range from knowing if a previous transaction made from the computer was successful, too spamming activities like someone creating multiple accounts on a website within a certain time period.

All of these services have their problems and workaround but the best solution for a dating site would be using a combination of all these services to stop scammers. When you combine a Identity Check, with a Criminal Background Check, with a Reputation Service you can ensure maximum protection for your members. A website that offers a paid service or products can offer even further protection since they will have the additional knowledge of knowing if your bank or credit card information was verified by a financial institution.

Sexual Blackmailers on Sugar Daddy Dating Sites

Safety
  • Wednesday, May 20 2009 @ 12:14 pm
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  • Views: 3,770

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

Safety
  • Tuesday, May 12 2009 @ 09:09 am
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  • Views: 2,101

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?

Safety
  • Friday, December 05 2008 @ 02:02 pm
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  • Views: 2,408

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

Safety
  • Monday, September 15 2008 @ 01:02 pm
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  • Views: 6,006
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.

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