The Widder Curry : A Look Back and a Look Forward – the Pitfalls of Online Dating

by on November 22, 2017 · 3 comments

in Ocean Beach

(Editor’s Note: Judi wrote the following 3 days ago.)

I have thought about writing this article for some time; probably since I began writing my book “Liar Liar”.  Perhaps it is because I am very depressed today because it is the birthday of my granddaughter who would have been 30 years old if she  hadn’t had an untimely demise.

Or perhaps it is because last night I met a couple that met on line, married, and seem very happy with each other.  I know that my editor-dude met his lady on-line and they seem very happy with each other. None-the-less, whatever the reason, here it is.

I have been a widow for over eight years.  Approximately 6 years ago I began  “on-line dating”.  I should have stopped a long time ago, but “hope springs eternal” and I keep hoping that I will meet the right person.  But I am running out of hope.

I now have 31 chapters in my book; that means that I have been scammed – or attempted to be scammed – at least 31 times.  Some of those scammers I blame on the “on-line” dating sites themselves.

Let me give you two very recent episodes.

I belong to several of these sites.  Some cost money; others are free. One of those I belong to is Zoosk.  (I have no idea what it stands for, but sometimes I feel like I am in a Zoo as my profile is being looked at.)  Imagine my surprise a few weeks ago when I went to my site and found that I had changed into a 46 year old woman; walking with the Lord; slim and having dark long hair.  I looked again and found that even my picture had changed.  I certainly looked different.  I almost felt like I should look in a mirror to see if I had been in a time machine. What didn’t change was my name and email address.

Somehow someone hacked into my account and changed the information. I am not sure why, because I was still able to view the men – 18 of them that time – that “liked me” and sent me a message.

I called Zoosk to complain, and, quite honestly, was afraid that my other accounts might be hacked, and the young man I spoke to told me to change my password.  I said, ‘what about my picture? What about the description of me?  What about what I am looking for?’

He put me on hold, and when he came back on the line he told me that he would “refresh” my account and put it back to where it was before the change.  All that was done, and once again I was an old lady, with silver hair, not walking with the Lord.

Until a week later.  When I received an email from Zoosk telling me that my birthday had “been successfully changed.”  Really?  I changed my birth date?  That would be nice; maybe they could change my body too!  So I went back to my profile and found that I was now another woman, 55, dark hair, looking for a man between the ages of 50-60. And I had 13 responses.

Once again I called Zoosk and this time I spoke to a woman who said there was nothing that Zoosk could do about it.  I told her about the happenings last week and she said she could not refresh the account. I told her I wanted to cancel my membership; she said she could make sure that it was not “automatically renewed” but that was all she could do. (I had already done that the very same day I signed up.)

I thought, because English was not her first language, she didn’t understand that the existing profile was not me.  She said she understood, but maybe changing my profile and “resurrecting” the original profile would help.  Sure it would help, but for how long? Having little choice of doing anything else, I changed the password; erased, word for word, what the other “Judi Curry” wanted, and added my own words.  It is interesting to note that she kept my birthday – February 21, but changed the year.

I am not “using” Zoosk anymore.  It doesn’t expire until the middle of December, but I am checking it every now and then to make sure that I am still me.

Chapter 31 of the book is very, very similar to Chapter 1. And this time the site was POF – Plenty of Fish. This is a free site, unlike Zoosk.

I had been corresponding with a handsome man for about 4 weeks, I’ll call him “Andrew”.  He said, on his profile, that he lived in San Diego, but he told me he was actually living in San Marcos, working on a 5-Star hotel.  I googled Five Star Hotels in San Marcos and there are two of them, so I thought maybe he was legitimate. He explained that his phone number area code, (425) was from Seattle, where he was housed until he was sent to work on this hotel here.  OK – that could be legitimate.

There were several discrepancies that he managed to worm out of – told me he had a daughter studying law in Florida – and then mentioned how “his boy” took the picture he sent me.  Said he called all of the people that worked for him “his boys!”  Farfetched? Yes. Possible? Yes.

Every day he sent me a new picture; some with cats; some with dogs; some a close-up, etc.  And then he began asking questions that many spammers ask.  I told him I was going to take a walk on the Cliffs. He said, “alone?”  I said with my dog and why didn’t he join me.  After all, he could come from San Marcos to Ocean Beach in 30 minutes. I offered to wait for his arrival.  He had several excuses why it could not happen, and the doubts were beginning.

I noticed that he would always wish me “good morning” at about 10:00am, our time.  But he would say he had been to the gym; or he was just cooking his breakfast, or….  Then a few messages came in at 3:00am!

On a whim I decided to take some of his pictures and put them on “Google Image” to see if anything came up.  (I have no luck with Google Image.  There was a tree in the background, and google’s response was, “it’s a tree”.)  But then I went to some of the other imaging services and found that the pictures that I was being sent were none other than a very famous vocalist in Russia. (Oh hell… was I part of the Russian connection now?)  Every single one of the pictures could be found on the website I went to.  (There was an English translation on this page, so there was no mistaking who the “real” man was and it wasn’t Andrew!)

I immediately notified POF of this scammer; implored them to remove his name from the list of eligible men.  I did this FIVE times. And today I looked at the POF list, and he is still there.  Still able to scam women.  I sent them proof that he was a scammer. It  didn’t  seem to matter to them because it says that he is an “upgraded member” which means he pays for the usage of the site.

So what is the purpose of this rant?

It seems to me that the on-line dating sites should have a protection clause somewhere in their membership rules.  I thought  that there was some “vetting” done before a person is allowed to use the site.  I also expect that if the site is notified that a scammer is using the site that scammer should be removed immediately.  Many of the scammers say that their subscription is ending shortly and ask for the personal email so that “we can continue to talk.”

I wonder how many women Andrew is talking to on their own personal email or cell phone?  Frequently the sites may say “verified with Face Book” which means nothing except that the person has a Face Book page.  If you look at the page, there is usually just the same picture as the one on-line, and nothing else. So there is a Face Book page, but it is meaningless.  Face Book doesn’t vet their members, as is evidenced by the Russian accounts during the election.

I called the FBI and spoke to a representative about the deception. His comment to me was “as long as you are not a victim – didn’t send him money or anything else there is nothing that we can do about it.” I actually already knew about that because of my experience with Thomas in Chapter 1.

I also notified the vocalist in Russia that his picture was being used to scam women and sent him the information that I had.

I want to also state that it is not just men that scam women on line.

I know of many instances where a woman has told a man that she needs money to get back to the US; money for surgery; etc. It is not a gender thing. But the entire point of this rant is to say that IF you do go to on-line dating, beware of the pitfalls you may face.  The companies have all sorts of disclaimers absolving themselves of any wrong doings. Even when they are told that something is amiss they, apparently, do nothing.

It has now been 7 days since I first notified POF and his picture is still there.  Just be careful out there.  It’s more than a “dog eat dog” rule.  You can be hurt. Badly hurt.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Judi Curry judi November 22, 2017 at 2:43 pm

Today is day 10. Picture still up!

Reply

jose November 25, 2017 at 7:09 pm

That’s sad…and a terrible waste of time, energy, and emotion. Aren’t there more legitimate online dating/meeting sites?

Reply

Judi Curry Judi November 25, 2017 at 8:22 pm

I’ve tried most of them. There are scammers on all the sites. Even went to a match making agency in mission valley. The price was enormous-$1500- forb5 dates
Couldn’t afford it and no guarantees!

Reply

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