The REALITY read

Online Dating - It's a ZOO out there!

Top 10 TRAPS of Online Dating

Successful business woman Dr Alexander said, “it could never happen to me,” but she lost $140k. Her public service announcement reads like a romance novel.

WELLINGTON, NZ, February 14, 2017 / -- “It could never happen to me,” says Jordan Alexander, author of I love you, send money, “if you told me four years ago I would fall prey to a romance scam, I’d have thought you were having a giggle.” Who would argue with her? A well-educated, successful business woman, Dr Alexander held senior positions and runs a successful consultancy. But romance fraud doesn’t discriminate - Alexander’s one and only online dating experience ended tragically, adding her $140k loss to the growing cost of cybercrimes.

Society is embracing dating sites as the new normal, and by 2040, it is estimated over 70% of new relationships will start online. Google ‘online dating’ and get forty million hits a second – better odds than Friday at the pub! Despite her bad experience, Alexander doesn’t bash online dating, she wants “genuine love seekers to find their special someone online safely.” She points to the frequency of dating scam headlines and the staggering social cost.

“Going public was the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” Alexander was compelled to raise awareness of the bigger picture to create some good from her experience. She is weary her money is supporting illegal activities like drugs and terrorism, and asks, “how many schools, hospitals and housing projects could be built for the billions lost around the globe annually?”

The combined loss to romance scams in the UK, USA, NZ, Canada and Australia in 2014 was over $170 million USD. The real cost is more like $1.5 billion if you consider 85-90% of crimes are unreported (see consumer affairs agencies like Australia’s Competition and Consumer Commission, New Zealand’s ScamWatch, and the USA Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Internet Crime Complaint Center). Globally? A conservative tenfold increase is $15 billion - or extrapolate the five-country data and get a jaw-dropping $60 billion price tag. That’s in 2014 alone. Alexander wants to stop this annual $15-$60 billion USD global cash hemorrhage by waging war through increased awareness.

Her book, I love you, send money is more of “a public service announcement dressed up as a romance novel.” The reality read gives you a front row seat on the scam rollercoaster, starting with her online profile, dipping and diving using verbatim emails and exchanges, so you can answer the question yourself – could you fall prey to this romance scam? With 300 readers so far, many asked if it was true, a few admitted they would send money, and some are still convinced it can’t be her autobiography. Today clarifies the main character, Alexis Jordain, is indeed the author.

The I love you, send money eBook and audio versions make access easy for shut-ins and people with visual impairments, a YouTube video recorded at Wellington Zoo provides the Top 10 Traps of Online Dating, and The Amazing Read travel race is raising awareness and money for charities with special edition books traveling the globe on 50 teams representing almost ten countries.

Sharing her story is helping Alexander rid the guilt and self-deprecation of the experience. She encourages others to do the same to heal. “I knew I had to stop hiding in the shadow of shame. I hope to get closure and prevent others from a similar fate.” She emphasizes, “there are no circumstances – none – where a romantic encounter should lead to the exchange of money.” Perhaps her book should have been called, I love you, DON’T send money.

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