• You are walking down the street with your arms full of groceries when a beautiful man accidentally bumps into you and knocks the bags from your hands. Your eye’s meet as you both scramble to pick up your fallen produce. Sound familiar? This is a common movie trope. In real life, when a man bumps into you it’s usually because he’s trying to steal your purse.

    The dating scene isn’t much different. Going blindly into a relationship or even a date can be asking for trouble. It doesn’t matter how old we are, we all want to believe that our attraction is mutual and real. What you should trust are your instincts. There are plenty of fish in the sea and lots of nice men out there, but the bottom feeders are also nibbling on the famous free dating site and even the ones that require a monthly fee.

    I worked as a private investigator for 28 years and during that time, I investigated many cases of infidelity. If the person you trusted more than anyone else in the world can deceive you, why is it so difficult to believe a stranger can pull one over on you? You don’t need to hire a P.I. every time you go on a date, but you can do some background work on your own:

    • Check all social media – Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and even Pinterest. The site may be populated by 80 percent female users, but those 20 percent of males come from somewhere.

    • Don’t take what someone says at face value. Run his name, phone number or any other information through Google as well as reverse directories, Pipl.com, and 123people.com. If you know his username on any sites, you can search it at Peekyou.com

    • Photos can be taken from anywhere on the Internet and used as a profile image. Want to check out that photo? Download the picture and go to Google images. On the search bar there is a camera icon. Click on it and upload the photo. If the image belongs to someone else, it may show up. Tin Eye is another image search site.

    • Always ask for a phone number. It will probably be a cell phone, and it is more difficult to trace those numbers, but sometimes you get lucky. Put that number into Google and see what comes up. If he has added his number to a Craigslist ad, or some other site it will often show up.

    • Asking the right questions will get you answers. They may not be truthful ones, but they can lead to the truth. Someone who is evasive when you ask about where he lives is probably married. Move on. If he gives it to you, look it up on Google maps. If a picture of a shopping mall shows up, he’s probably given you a post office box address.

    • Investigators use the art of pretext to glean information. If you’ve had a few dates and something doesn’t seem right, check out his story with a few phone calls. For example, if your date says he works for an insurance company, but he doesn’t seem to know anything about the industry, get a friend to call the company and ask for him.

    • Never send money to someone you met online. It doesn’t matter what kind of sob story he gives you, it’s probably a scam. Don’t waste your time investigating his story, just say goodbye.

    It’s sad that we have to go to this trouble, but there are plenty of scammers out there.  People think private investigation is all about skill and knowledge. It is, but it is also about common sense. If you meet a man online, tell him you want to Skype with him. If he says he doesn’t have a camera on his computer, it could be true, but an IT guy who doesn’t have a laptop with a camera is a liar.

    A few months ago, I helped a friend check out the man she was dating. It turned out he had a wife, three children and two girlfriends on the side. He told her he worked for a bank. He was a truck driver. This man had a number of fake profiles online and a photo search like the one I discussed earlier pulled those up.

    If you are getting serious about that new man and things aren’t adding up, you may want to hire a private investigator before you invest your time and emotions in a new relationship.

    Don’t give a man any information that could allow him to steal your identity or your heart before you know that he is exactly who he says he is. You are worth so much more.

     

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    pamelastewart@sympatico.ca'

    Article by: Pamela Stewart

    Pamela Stewart is a writer and interviewer for First Wives World, a community that cares deeply about the challenges women face when going through separation and divorce.

    Pamela honed her research and interviewing skills during a 28-year career as a private investigator. The Toronto, Canada native writes fiction and non-fiction. Her work has been published in literary magazines, newspapers and in the digital world. The versatile writer has written blog posts on a variety of topics. Her first book, Elysium and Other Stories was published by Anvil Press in 2008. She is currently working on a novel.

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