Last month you may have read the story of a South Australian farmer by the name of Des Gregor.
Des got involved in an “internet romance” with a woman from the country of Mali. His Mali girlfriend had not only convinced Des that she wanted to marry him, but that she would provide a $100,000 gold dowry to him.
Now, for those of you who’ve never heard of Mali, it’s a country in North-West Africa – one of the former French colonies in that area. It’s also over 90% muslim, and one of the poorest countries on the planet. Des was obviously familiar with computers, and about two minutes of keyboard research would have told him all this, so you would think that these two questions would then have come to his mind. Why does an attractive muslim woman want to pay to marry a non-muslim?..and where does a muslim woman in a very poor country get hold of $100,000 in gold?
Unfortunately for Des he didn’t ask these questions. Instead he flew to Mali, was met by some guys and taken to a flat where other men with machetes and a pistol were waiting. Even then Des says “I basically was wondering what the hell was going on, and then they started demanding money. Then I knew things were serious”
OK, you’ve figured out by now that Des is one of life’s more gullible blokes, and it won’t surprise you to learn that prior to this he’d also been scammed by a Russian marriage agency. Clearly he’s proof that a fool and his money are soon parted. However, being foolish or stupid is not illegal, and no matter how much of a dill he is, Des doesn’t deserve this treatment.
Many years ago I was involved in a dating business that aimed to put people together for relationships, rather than just sex partners. The people I was in business with were scrupulously honest about how they ran it, and provided a good service at a reasonable price. However, in those pre-internet days there were scam dating agencies as well.
These agencies would put ads in the newspaper with pictures of gorgeous girls and invite guys to join up to meet them. Once the guys paid their money, they’d eventually be told that they’d need to pay more money (often tens of thousands more) to meet the best women, and guys like Des who were wealthy and desperate for companionship would pay up. These scam agencies would run for a year or so and then be closed down by consumer authorities, but would simply open up again two weeks later under another name.
So why am I bringing all this up? Well, this whole case has highlighted the fact that people searching for relationships or sex via the internet need to be cautious. It’s very easy to post fake ads on an internet site, so with our site we go out of our way to try and ensure that all our ads are real. Some fake ones probably get past us, but I’m pretty good at spotting which one’s aren’t real.
Other sites, such as the one with ‘Mali girl’ exist purely to rip people off. There are also other sites in between, especially in the sex area. They will contain some real profiles, but they also contain many that just sound too good to be true. One of the biggest giveaways is when the photos attached to the profile look like they were shot by a professional photographer. This doesn’t mean that the profile is automatically a fake, but it’s certainly a warning sign. I’ve noticed that one of the bigger internet swinger’s sites in Australia seems to have a huge number of what looks like professionally-shot photos recently, which causes me to have some doubts about them.
As with all areas of on-line business, make use of websites to meet other swingers, but take their pictures and what they write about themselves with a grain of salt until you’ve spoken with them by phone, or met them in person. They probably won’t have a machete with them, but you can still get a nasty surprise if they’ve been lying to you.