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Dating Over the Internet

Dating over the Internet is the newest romancing trend. It can be the way of finding the girl of your dreams, followed by the "happily ever after" life, or it can be a terrible nightmare, with accompanying emotional and financial disaster.

 

After retiring from a job as chief of criminal investigations and intelligence in the US, I joined as a partner with Filipino friends of mine in a company involved in corporate fraud and background investigations. I soon talked my partners into venturing into the Internet bride scene. The reason for this came because of late-night discussions with Don Herrington, the owner of www.livinginthephilippines.com. He related to me some horror stories of nice guys being scammed by ruthless individuals. I had heard similar stories before, and also some real success stories. Anyway, I decided that someone needs to be out there helping the guys to find out who their on-line love really is.

What began as a minor sideline in our company has grown big over the past couple of years. These days we average around ten investigations monthly. We are doing these all the way from Northern Luzon to Southern Mindanao. We have relied on word of mouth from former clients as opposed to advertising. We believe strongly in the concept that a satisfied client is one's best advertisement. And so far we have apparently been correct.

We have uncovered a lot of scams in the past years. We have also given many guys peace of mind and relief from suspicions and unwarranted jealousy. An interesting fact is that the ones who get a positive report send nice thank you letters. The ones who have found out they have been lied to or scammed usually drop out of sight with not a single word of appreciation for us saving them a lot of future grief (and money).

Here are some examples of cases we have handled:

A man from Arizona had been corresponding with a lady from Cebu City for a year and a half. He was already deeply in love with her, and was making plans for marriage, US visa, etc. However, she was becoming evasive as to going through the visa process, so he wanted her checked out. She had told him that she was employed as an instructor in one of the local private schools, and was pursuing her Master's degree in education at a college here, attending mostly weekend classes. She said she was living in a nice condo in the city, which actually was owned by her former husband, a Filipino-American, who was now practicing dentistry in California. She had sent multiple photos of herself, a beautiful Filipina in her late twenties, to the American boyfriend.

The Truth: The lady was fifty plus years old. She was married to an alcoholic husband (government employee) with three adult children. Her detailed knowledge regarding the private school and the curriculum for the Master's degree came from her daughters. The photos were of a Filipina movie and TV starlet. She lived in a small house about a mile from the condo. She was a very lonely woman who had created a fantasy life for herself on the Internet. Positive: She never asked for money. Negative: The American boyfriend was emotionally devastated.

A man from Australia was in love with a girl from Minglanilla, just outside Cebu City. After a few months of e-mailing her, he visited the Philippines and met up with her in Manila. Three weeks of bliss. After that he decided that he was going to process the visa for her to travel to Australia. Easy, she was a nursing graduate after all. After sending her money for visa application, attorney's fees, for an operation she had to have because the doctor had found blood clot in her breast, he finally sent her ticket and travel money to come to Australia. She never showed up in Australia, so he got concerned that something had happened to her. He wanted us to check on her welfare, he still believed everything she had told her, and was deeply in love. We started the investigation when he got a cell-phone call from her "sister". The crying "sister” told him that his love had traveled to Australia via Canada, got into a car accident there and was in Intensive care in a hospital. She needed money urgently to fly to Canada and be with her sister. I advised the Australian boyfriend to hold off a little sending more money until we find out some facts.

The Truth:  The lady doesn't exist. Anyone of that name never lived at the street address given. Had never attended the college named. She had sent the boyfriend scanned copies of her passport with visa, college diploma, nursing board certification, etc. All were forgeries. The photos were of a Filipina model, starlet of Pinoy Big Brother fame. She and her "sister" was the same woman.

Negatives: The Australian lost $16,000 plus months of deep love and affection. Positives: Nothing, except maybe justice as the case has been turned over to the NBI. Problem, it' not illegal to accept money as gifts from a friend. The forged official documents were the only way to get her.

A man from Texas met this lady from Cagayan de Oro on the Internet. After months of chatting, he went to visit her. It was instant love because she was a beautiful woman. He went back to the US after his vacation, and became jealous. A woman like that, single, sexy, with all the men preying on her. She would not spend a single night with him in his hotel all the time he was visiting. Suspicious, maybe she had another man. He hired us to check on her daily and nightly activities. We found out that she was chaste, religious, only going out shopping or eating with her female co-workers and friends. A good woman all the way, only a little worried about the boyfriend's jealousy. After he received our report, his attitude changed completely. They are now happily married.

Positives: A nice "thank you" letter and an invitation to their wedding. Negatives: Nothing.

There are so many more, they could fill an entire book. The lesson for all of us should be: Nobody knows who is at the other keyboard when you are thousands of miles apart. Check it out before you waste your time, love, emotions and money on something that only exists in your mind. Remember, there are thousands of beautiful, smart, honest, and wonderful women here, only waiting for the right guy to come along, and going to sleep every night praying for a nice foreigner to find them.

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