By now, you've likely heard of Ray Holycross. He's the 29 year old man who is now referred to as the "Internet Casanova." He is accused of scamming dozens of women out of money and property across several states. He would meet them online and quickly develop a relationship. Eventually, he would let them know he needed a place to live and many of the women took him into their homes.
Ray Holycross frequently preyed on women through the free dating site PlentyofFish.com and several other dating sites. His photos were attractive and many of his victims said he was very charming. Some of those victims have now spoken up and a few have filed criminal charges against him for stealing their property.
Unlike "catfishing" which is a term to describe what happens when someone lies about their identity online, Mr. Holycross (who also used a few aliases) was a different type of online scammer. He got women to trust him for the sole purpose of using them for his own financial gain.
So how can you protect yourself against this type of online scam? The root of this scam is often about preying on desperate women. The lesson is - don't be desperate.
1) Take your time. Get to know your online dates. Never invite them to live in your home before truly getting to know them better.
2) Find out where they work, meet some of their friends and a few family members if possible.
3) Never lone money to your online dates unless you are fine with never seeing that money again.
In other words, take your time before jumping head first into any new relationship. Try to find out who you are dealing with and if that person has any integrity. Try to balance a cautious head with an open mind.
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