How a Sociopath Duped Me Online

beautiful woman portrait

Upon moving to New York, I quickly learned about the fast-paced dating culture in the city, and the abundance of apps that make virtual speed dating possible. When left swiping was starting to give my thumb some serious carpal tunnel, I tried a new app, called Happn. This app uses geo-based technology that shows you the people you cross paths with on the street. Kind of like a missed connection sort of deal, the app gives you a second chance to catch the love of your life from just passing you by. Within the first 24 hours, I met someone I found attractive and intriguing.

We started talking on the app, and within a week or two, we moved to Skype. He was away on business and so video chatting and messaging was our means of getting to know each other. He loved Hemingway, read the same books as I did, and seemed adventurous and humble. We talked about values, about societal concerns and his punctuation and grammar was razor sharp. Swoon.

how to spot a liar online

Three weeks in. He’s supposed to be coming back from his business trip and we’re planning to meet up in New York. His last message: “Going to hit the gym. Have a great yoga class!”

After that text, I stopped hearing from him. A week went by… nothing. I thought it was peculiar to be communicating with someone daily (we had actually exchanged over 200 messages back and forth each day since we started chatting) and have the person go radio silent. Perhaps he got in an accident? Heart attack at the gym? I was concerned about his safety that I even Googled his name with the word “car accident.”

Then, I went on to Facebook to see if I could find his profile. He has a generic name so at first, nothing showed up. After doing some digging, I finally stumbled upon his Facebook page.

Then it all made sense.

Not only did I find his page, I also found the profile page of his wife. His new wife. In fact, he was “courting” me all the way up to days before his wedding.

I guess if there was an excuse to not touch base, this would be it — he was getting MARRIED. I peeked at his wife’s page and saw the wedding photos as stunning as if they had been staged for a magazine spread. She looked sweet as pie. They looked so in love. Judging by their photos, no one would ever know that she was marrying a lying sociopath. The girl probably has no clue.

Everything he said was a lie. His apartment in Tribeca, his dating gripes, how his extensive travel schedule was holding him back from creating a long-term relationship. He made everything up.

red flags of online dating

I’m not going to deny, this experience has been disenchanting. It bewilders me that there are people out there who lie and cheat without remorse. I pride myself on my strong intuition and it never occurred to me that I was dealing with a complete fake. If we had met up, I could have very well fallen for him, without knowing he was married. My intuition failed me. He was that good. Or perhaps, I was that naïve.

To all of you dating out there, I do not want to scare you or make you swear off online dating. I am a woman who still chooses to believe in the best in people, and believes that there is more kindness and beauty in people than there is darkness and evil. Putting yourself out there means you’ll meet a lot of great people, and unfortunately, the occasional con artist or sociopath may sneak his way in. You have to keep your heart open for love, but you also have to be cautious, especially when dating online. Here are some tips to save you from getting duped online:

Google him with the right key words.

I once dated a man who I would later learn was a total conartist. When he was first courting me, I Googled him, but everything checked out okay. Then, when he asked to borrow thousands of dollars from me, I Googled him again but this time with the word “fraud” in the search. Voila. A web page came up with a public warning that the man was a con-artist and had defrauded many people for money. If someone has a common name, you may need to expand your search to include words like “con, scam, fraud…etc” in order for something to come up.

Do a reverse image search.

There are entire scam rings out there that steal photos, create fake accounts and troll dating sites to find their victims. You can conduct an image search, where you upload the person’s photo, and the magical Google will search the interwebs to find a photo match. This can be a good way of seeing if the photo appears on other sites, or if the pictures are stolen.

If he cannot meet you in person, be suspicious.

He’s away on business for an undetermined amount of time. He’s in a location where the reception is poor and can’t video chat. He isn’t available to speak in the evenings. All of these are warning signs. While in some cases, it’s nice to build rapport online before meeting in person, if there is always an excuse as to why he isn’t available to see you then take that as a red flag.

If things are moving super quickly, be cautious.

Are there stories out there where two people meet, fireworks are sparked and they know right away they have found “the one?” Yes, it has happened. But it’s not the norm. Such stories are so magical, warm and fuzzy, that they stick out and stay in the top of our minds, coloring our reality with rose petals and fairy dust. A healthy relationship is created by building a foundation, and that base is not built overnight. If someone wants to have your commitment right away, you may be filling a void, or fitting into a fantasy, or, he may be a scam artist trying to get one of the following from you: A) money B) ass C) an escape from his shitty reality D) All of the above.

If you’ve had a negative experience online, or know of someone who has, don’t be discouraged. There are a lot more kind and loving people out there than there are crazies. After a disappointment, you just have to brush yourself off, get back on your feet and keep going. Each experience is adding to your book of interesting stories. Many experiences will come with a lesson that will help you grow. Don’t let the bad guys ruin it for the good guys ahead.

Photo by Ibai Acevedo 

9 Comments

  • Reply November 4, 2014

    Josee

    Sorry that you have been played like this..There are so many stupid people in the world. Poor girl who is marrying him….In your last paragraph, you say to beware about people who want to commit so fast. But I don’t think that the opposite is better. If we are dating a man who doesn’t want to consider us as a girlfriend, this is a huge red flag. He is just there to play. So what do you mean exactly by “committing too fast” ?

  • Reply November 4, 2014

    Jacque

    I’m always wary of the ones wanting to move super fast. I had just this happen to me too… He wasn’t married, but he had a girlfriend of 2+ years. Luckily, I never reciprocated any of the e-schmooziness being sent my way. But yeah, disenchanting indeed. Makes you wonder whether being cynical is justified after all. Some people are such assholes.

    But, I’m fairly certain that guys who are in it only for the cheap thrills will always get what they deserve; not because of karma, but because they just can’t help it. They can’t help but to fuck things up eventually. The only solution there is real change.

    That’s why so many cheaters fight so hard to not get caught… Because they want it all, regardless of who/how many people they have to hurt. They’re dumb and selfish.

    • Reply November 5, 2016

      Tisha

      Thank you for doing this, seiurosly. I wanted to take a stab at him so bad but I just released a book and didn’t want to deal with the headache of him doing a DCMA notice on me as well. You rock!

  • Reply November 5, 2014

    CP

    Thanks for the tips…isn’t it tragic that dating has resorted to this – researching to make sure that people we meet are genuine and authentic.

    In the same sense that things moving too quickly can be a flag, things moving way to slowly can be one as well. When a guy seems to just want an online pen-pal, is always sending pictures (and wants photos sent), and doesn’t seem eager to make plans to meet in person…this is a huge flag that he is shady.

  • Reply November 6, 2014

    Rebecca

    Amy, sorry this happened to you :(. It’s hard to believe that anyone would do this… what did he get out of it? He never even met you! What’s the point? Luckily as you said, not all guys are like this. Great tips and you definitely dodged a bullet!

  • Reply November 7, 2014

    CA

    Happn doesn’t seem any better than Craigslist. What were your intentions in using it?

  • Reply November 20, 2014

    Julio

    Ofcourse you meet Sociopath online, when you date exclusively white men. According to scientific findings, white men have higher risk of being Sociopaths. And according to your “Catch of the day’s” articles you prefer white men. Have a good day.

    • Reply December 1, 2014

      Andrea

      It is amazing how some people can come up with such ridiculous comment and blame it on scientific findings. If shouting sarcasm about one’s dating preference can ease the sting of your inferiority complex, I am sure the author is kind enough to grant you that pleasure.

  • Reply November 21, 2014

    Pani

    This guy had no idea who he was talking to. Poor guy has no idea that his whole identity can be revealed in a flash. It’s unfortunate that his lady will find out eventually (maybe even after kids) through one of his mess ups.

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