Police Look for More Victims of Online Dating Scam Artist
While online dating helps many single people find a match, stories of scam artists using these websites are far too common. Unfortunately, there are certain unscrupulous people who know that some users on websites like Match.com or eHarmony are willing to put far too much trust into people they haven't met. People who aren't aware of the dangers of online dating risk falling victim to these scams, as some women in the Santa Clarita area of California learned last year.
Jeffery Elvington, Online Dating Predator
Last February, several California women came forward to police officers to report a crime that was rooted in online dating, reports Los Angeles' local CBS affiliate. The women all claimed to have been taken advantage of by a man known as Jeffery Elvington. Though they had met him through different online channels, including Match.com and social networking sites, their stories were very similar.
"This man allegedly makes up elaborate professions and lifestyles to not only entice and lure women, but to gain their trust," Deputy Joshua Dubin told radio station KNX 1070, according to the news source.
Eventually, Elvington would arrange to meet with the women at their home, during which time he would steal their credit cards and use them to purchase expensive items like iPads and jewelry.
Poetically, the criminal was arrested on Valentine's Day, and after pleading no contest in court was sentenced to one year suspended jail sentence and three years probation.
However, in the interim, police uncovered new victims of the criminal and arrested him again earlier this month. He has since been released from custody pending further investigation, and police are searching for more women who may have fallen victim to his scheme.
Preventing These Schemes
While most reputable dating websites take measures to screen users, there will always be people like Elvington who manage to slip through the cracks. For that reason, it's important that online daters know how to protect themselves.
Julie Spira, the Online Dating Expert, offers a few safe dating tips for women who use websites like Match.com. She suggests that daters tell a friend where they are going on their date and the screen name of the person they're meeting. They should also text this friend at some point during the meeting to let him or her know that everything is going well.
The women who were fooled by Elvington likely gave up their personal information too quickly. It's important to refrain from revealing your home address or phone number to people you meet online until you're certain they're trustworthy. This can sometimes make communication difficult, which is why many women use a second mobile number to communicate with guys online. That way, if the man they meet turns out to be sketchy, they can simply dispose of and replace their second set of digits.
The next time you plan to meet someone from the Internet, remember that you never can tell who may be trustworthy!