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By February 26, 2006 9 Comments Read More →

Sociopaths troll for victims with online ads

Millions of people use online dating sites to search for the person of their dreams. And millions of people have learned the great lesson of online dating: It’s easy to lie on the Internet.

So now, not only are there dating sites, but there are sites to expose the lying daters. The New York Times featured some of these sites in an article on February 16, 2006, headlined (Name Here) Is a Liar and a Cheat. (Registration required to read the story.)

The article featured sites like DontDateHimGirl.com and Manhaters.com, which, as the Times wrote, “are dedicated to outing bad apples or just identifying people who may not be rotten but whose dating profiles are rife with fiction.”

Another site, Cyberpaths.blogspot.com, goes after the online predators. “Online players, Internet predators, cyberpaths, dating site frauds…whatever you call them, they need to be EXPOSED!” it states. Cyberpaths has links to 26 websites dedicated to doing the job.

Do the websites actually succeed in saving people from disappointing or even tragic encounters with particular individuals? In my opinion, they may expose the average dater who magically deleted 30 pounds, or the married person claiming to be single. But they won’t stop a sociopath bent on trolling for victims.

The Internet has opened up a whole new world of opportunity for sociopaths. Now, instead of dropping a few hooks in their local ponds, sociopaths can go online and cast nets throughout the seven seas. And dating sites are full of lonely fish just waiting to be caught. The key is knowing how to protect yourself.

Sociopaths online

I have nothing against Internet dating. It’s easy, fast and fun, and sometimes it works. But I’ve seen the good and the bad. My ex-husband, who I met online, defrauded me and cheated on me throughout our marriage. Later, I met another man online (I knew I wouldn’t get burned again), and he was wonderfully supportive through my traumatic divorce.

If you’re looking for love online, here’s what you need to know

1. At least 7 million Internet users are sociopaths. Many of them have good communication skills.

2. Sociopaths specialize in victimizing lonely people. If you place or respond to personal ads, you are presenting yourself as a target.

3. Experts believe that 65% to 90% of human communication is nonverbal—facial expressions, gestures, body language. When you communicate with someone via e-mail, 65% to 90% of the meaning is missing.

4. Most people fill in the missing information with their imaginations. That’s why online romance is so seductive—you fall in love with the fantasy that you create in your mind.

My advice

1. Do not engage in a long-distance romantic relationship. The only way to truly get to know someone is to spend time with him or her. Choose people who live within an easy driving distance.

2. Check the person out. Make sure you meet family and friends who have known him or her for a long time.

3. If your instincts are telling you that something is wrong, pay attention. Know the key symptoms of a sociopath, and if you see them, run away.

4. Watch out for the pity play. If you decide to break up, a sociopath may turn on the tears and pleading—anything to prey on your sympathies. Leave anyway—there are plenty of fish in the sea.



9 Comments on "Sociopaths troll for victims with online ads"

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  1. Sandra says:

    I, too, met my soon-to-be ex bigamist husband, Ed Hicks, on an Internet dating site. After I kicked him out of my home, I learned that he had posted at least six ads online, and he met his latest victim online whom he had already proposed to. Pay heed to the to this post; it is chocked full of valuable information. Sociopaths can be anyone they want to be behind that computer monitor and the Internet have given these predators a new and unlimited supply.

  2. Fighter says:

    This is what my blog is all about. I want to tear my hair out every time I hear a woman say – Oh THAT will NEVER happen to me…. or ANYONE who does online dating is a fool. You know I USED TO SAY THOSE THINGS!! I was nailed by someone I had known over 26 years who found me on a site that had NOTHING to do with online dating. If its not the dating sites, its the married moms sites or the ‘just friends’ sites and next thing you know these sociopaths have their hooks in your heart and their hands in your bank account and they tear both apart.

    The DISINHIBITION EFFECT of the internet is like adrenaline for sociopaths. I am sickened that people like Dr. Phil have gotten behind Match.com or YahooPersonals. These guys LEARN verbal & mental seduction and NeuroLinguistic Programming to lure you in and take you and your life down. Either for profit or sport…. you are the PREY.

    MARVELOUS POST DONNA!!!!! MARVELOUS!!

  3. Fighter says:

    BTW – that NY Times story is also available on http://manhaters.blogspot.com – the blog of Manhaters – one of the sites interviewed for that article.

    Kudos to YOU Donna.

  4. Bobbie says:

    I live in Australia. I always considered myself a good judge of character, and when I met “Prince Charming”, I was ambivalent (to say the least). My instincts told me to run a mile – but, after many social contacts, my logical mind was saying “what evidence is there to support that feeling – he is so charming, popular and open”. After some months of persistent, but polite, invitations, I agreed to have a coffee at his place and meet a couple of his neighbours (male and female). They obviously thought highly of him, the conversation was interesting – and I was hooked.

    There was never any pressure for sex or anything else. I later realised that he could afford to be patient as I was one of a number of women he had at various stages – grooming, active relationship, or disengagement phases. I later counted at least 29 women (usually divorcees, or the occasional never-married woman – like myself), who he had brief or longer relationships with during the time I knew him. Some were being groomed as potential sex partners (he was a risk-taking massochist and bi-sexual), whilst others were being groomed for what they could offer – money, transport, accomodation, entree to certain social circles, business contacts, services (such as minding his unit, doing his taxation, organizing parties etc).

    After months of occasional coffees, he began telling me about his problems with a female business partner in the UK. He said he had come up with a new idea for a singles organization – which had become really popular and which made lots of money – but she did the day-to-day running of it whilst he travelled the world and would appear for special functions and to “brain storm” new ideas for the business. This organisation did exist, and I met his business partner whilst I was on holiday in the UK – another lady hanging out for the promised (or implied) marriage.

    I provided him with information and advice to help him to get a Disability Support pension (tax-free regular income with medical and other concessions). I agreed to look after his unit while he went to the UK to sort out his partnership and finances. On his return, with the financial problems sorted, he began to flash around his money – he would never go out with notes of less than $100 in his wallet. He bought me some presents (a nice black onyx necklace, a leather brief-case, a subscription to a UK glossy magazine). He talked about how much he would enjoy showing me the sites of the world. He talked about how devastated he was when his wife had divorced him some years previously. He said their marriage broke up after she had a miscarriage (he also later said it broke up after he found her in bed with another woman). He would say that he doubted he could ever marry again – whilst at the same time hinting that he was changing his mind where I was concerned.

    One day he invited me to read a letter he was composing. It was to be sent to a number of women around the world (London, Boca Raton, Los Angeles, New York etc), who he had contacted through placing ads in personals. He would slightly change the details, but basically, it was a stock letter (mentioning his cat, his walks on the beach outside his front door, work on his Saab, his plans for spending time with her etc etc). His ad would be along the lines of “English businessman, financially independent, resident in Australia, visiting……, would like to meet unattached lady for friendship and continuing relationship”. He would send emails, letters, and make long phone calls. When he arrived, he would have one night booked at a hotel, but would inevitably be invited to stay with the chosen victim who would have met him at the airport. He would arrive from “business class” dressed in an expensive suit, carrying his briefcase, and wearing his Rolex. He would be charming, make implied promises – and sometimes even give them a ring before he left on URGENT business. He was quite proud of the fact that he never paid for more than one night’s hotel accomodation – but had EVERYTHING he wanted. One lady kept a room set aside for him for years for his occasional visits.

    He would make a big thing out of having his Will changed to leave everything to the women – who would often feel they should reciprocate. He thought that the fees involved in getting his Will changed often would be a good investment if one of these women actually died. One woman, who sent him wonderful romantic poetry (which he binned) did die of cancer, but fortunately, toward the end, saw his lack of support or feeling, and changed her Will to leave everything to her parents (he was most annoyed).

    On one occasion, he and another female friend were jointly composing ads for the personals – using the old bait of “friendship view possible marriage”. I pointed out that neither of them intended getting married and that they were not only wasting someone’s time, but also likely to cause considerable hurt. They both thought my concerns were quite hilarious – and that people needed to “learn a lesson” not to be so gullible.

    I have obviously edited out a lot from this story – mainly about how hard I found it to extricate myself from his influence. It was a sort of fascination, I suppose – similar to a cat hypnotising its prey. I did extricate myself after asking a psychologist their opinion and advice on how to handle his stalking, suicide threats, and threatened violence – all of which appeared after he realised he was losing control of me. He tried to interfere in my later marriage and accused us of “plotting” or “talking” against him.

    Women of the world – you can breath easy – he died of lung cancer – but still has an influence on my confidence in myself and my abilities to deal with a psychopath. Robert Hare’s book “Without Conscience” was a huge help in understanding what I had been up against – and in repairing my battered self-esteem.

  5. Donna says:

    Bobbie, thank you so much for sharing your experience. I’m glad the guy is gone.

  6. Fighter says:

    Also on our site by exposing them we know we can’t stop a determined sociopath from changing his nick, his IP, his email, etc. but like LoveFraud we can certainly educate people about their methodology and seductive coercion… and hopefully save one person from falling for it.

  7. Beverly says:

    Thanx Fighter, I so believe in finding out about them FIRST – I believe that this is such an important feature in a potential relationship – I read your site almost every day, except today (something is not letting me access your site) and closes down the page??

  8. lisa says:

    Thank you Fighter… there are so many stories about creeps trolling the internet for unsuspecting women looking for love.

    There are more stories like this here on Plenty of Fish Tales… http://plentyoffishtales.com/category/descriptive-tags-your-date/creeps-stalkers-and-weirdos

  9. behind_blue_eyes says:

    I have always wondered what I would have done if my x-spath had contacted me through one of his many online profiles, however unlike given that I am a few years older than him and he is a boy-chaser.

    Certainly, the first profile of his that I stumbled upon, I would have skipped over. In fact I did, because the profile picture did not look much like him. Then something struck me and I went back. This profile is very juvenile, even for a 25-year old let alone a 35-year old man. Moreover, he looks way too young in the picture, which is why I did not recognize him at first. Way too young. I remember looking at dozens of profiles on the same site of men around his age and he was the youngest looking. I also wonder what others would have thought? Complimentary? Questioning? Suppose somebody met him in person? Would they call him out or just forgive his “baiting” since he is still and attractive guy?

    I wonder too how many would have Googled his profile name and found the other profiles, all on porn sites. What would others think about his taste for unsafe sex? Aroused? Or, perhaps like me thinking that maybe this guy is saying something that he would prefer not to directly mention?

    Another of his profiles contains at least pictures a bit more current… This profile is still juvenile and even more overt: “my hobbies are boys, beers and fooling around.” At least I knew about the beers. Google this profile name and guess what? More raunchy porn. And another profile on another gay “dating” site, but his age is a year younger. Here, he is clear about his desire to meet 18-30 year old men. Keep in mind that when gay guy says 18-30, he means 18-20…

    As I have said before, I should be flattered that at 38, he even talked to me…

    In contrast, I am not much of an online person. Each instance I found a profile of the x-spath, an unusual circumstance had me online. The first time I found one of his profiles, was due to the fact that I was very sick and basically confined to home. This was right after he dumped me. Actually, I forgot about this one other site I get periodic junk mail from. I looked there too and remember finding a profile from the name I thought was his, but the details were wrong. Guess what, it is him.

    The second time I found profiles was over this summer, when I was getting ready for a planned trip with a friend of mine to England. Like the first time, a mainstream dating website with a gay presence, I never expected to find him on this one, a gay sports and fitness oriented dating website. Again, he uses this profile name on porn sites, again unsafe and raunchy sex.

    Online, he is everywhere. Different profile names with different details. Sometimes 5’10”, sometimes 5’9″. Sometimes the correct birthday, other times a different month or a year younger. Sometimes he is a drinker and smoker; other times not. Sometimes “never” uses drugs, another time he is a “recreational drug user.” Sometimes slim body, other times toned. Sometimes hairy, sometimes smooth, as he waxes his chest. Multiple profiles on the same site…

    One would think that somebody with a sincere purpose online would have consist ant profiles, and not so many.

    My advice to anyone using online dating is to do a little Googling. Change the spelling a bit (“boi” instead of “boy”). If the person is “jw25″ and around that age, try “jw85″ or “jw1985″.

    To this day, I do not know if my x-spath is purposeful, clueless, or just doesn’t care. Perhaps since he is a sociopath, he is to cocky to think he might be unmasked.

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