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The Military Ruse

 

 

The Military Ruse

“You don’t know me, but I stumbled across your picture, and I couldn’t look away. You’re just stunning!”

Not many of us wouldn’t be intrigued if we saw this in our inbox on Instagram.  It is the hook that many scammers use to catch the attention of women all around the world. Sometimes the writing is less articulate and full of grammar errors, but the message is the same: I don’t know you, but you’re beautiful!

The military ruse follows a very predictable pattern. They always message a potential victim through Instagram. They pour on the flattery like hot butter over popcorn. Sometimes they may send you poetry.  They will call you “babe, sweetie, and love.” They are always in the US military. Almost always they are deployed overseas in Africa. Often they have a dead wife or they have been hurt by their previous girlfriend. They will often send you pictures of them in their uniform. However, an astute observer might notice that the name on their uniform doesn’t match what they say their name is, or they claim they’re in the navy but send you a picture of a man in an air force uniform. They may even send you a picture of their military ID, but if you look closely it is obvious it has been photo shopped. They will try to get you to chat with them on Google Hangouts, their preferred method of communication because they cannot be traced. Sometimes they will call you on the phone, but they will never video call you.

They will then begin to create intimacy with you as they confide that they can’t stop thinking about you. They will reveal that they have never met anyone like you before, and usually within just a few short days they will confess their undying love. Usually within 24 to 48 hours after that declaration of love, they will ask for money or gift cards. Sometimes they will slow down a bit if they sense their potential victim is getting wary, but almost always the “relationship” progresses very fast.

These scammers are individuals in third world countries who have used this ruse, and many others, to successfully take hundreds of thousands of dollars from unsuspecting, eager-for-love victims. They use every social media site including creating fake profiles to infiltrate dating apps. It is very important to keep your mind in full gear while you are looking for love. Each scammer has several ruses he/she uses, but the military ruse is quite popular on Instagram. So, if you see any of the telltale signs of the ruse, here is what you can do:

  1. Remember that Instagram is NOT a dating app. If someone approaches you on this app and tries to start a relationship with you out of thin air, be very wary.
  2. Do a reverse Google search on their pictures. Most scammers have stolen pictures off of Facebook or other sites. There’s a good chance you will find out who the image belongs to by doing a reverse image search.
  3. Ask the person to video call you or Face Time you. If they’re a scammer, they will give you an excuse as to why they can’t. With the military ruse, they will usually say it’s because they are deploying soon so they are too busy or they aren’t allowed to because they are on a secret mission.
  4. Remember, real love and emotion takes time to develop. If they are professing love after knowing very little about you, it’s not love—it’s a lure.
  5. Learn to be skeptical of everyone! When you are honestly searching for a relationship, it is hard to engage your brain once your heart gets put into gear. Scammers know this. They send you sweet messages. They flatter you. They know if they can get your heart involved, you will likely turn off your brain. That’s when they start asking for things. Don’t get tricked. At the first sign of trouble, block the person.

 

Some scammers are a little more sophisticated and they start with something that looks legitimate, but they all will ultimately follow the same pattern: get their victim onto Google Hangouts, profess love, and ask for money. Don’t fall prey to these schemes. They continue to use this ruse because it works! It’s time for the singles of the world to shut these pathetic scammers down.

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8 Tips For Surviving Divorce

 

8 Tips For Surviving Divorce

 

The ‘D’ Word – Divorce

Twenty-five years is a long time. In my life, it encapsulated three college degrees, three houses, two beautiful daughters, dozens of camping trips, 20 years of teaching, and 20 years of living the Thin Blue Line life, which meant carrying the responsibilities of a single mom most of the time. There were years of happiness but also many years of loneliness. When my marriage of almost 25 years ended, my world ended. I was out in the ocean of anger and sadness hit by wave after wave of loss. At night, my mind would dwell on the list of things I was losing:

My home.

My name.

My identity.

My companion.

My sense of stability.

My belief in love’s power to conquer.

My in-laws.

Half my friends.

My neighborhood.

My self-respect.

My dreams and visions for the future.

My belief in happily-ever-after.

My time with my daughters.

My belief in miracles.

My faith in forgiveness.

My innocence.

As the depths of depression crept into the nethermost regions of my heart and soul, my mind wandered to death. At times, I would pray that I wouldn’t wake up in the morning. That God would take me in my sleep. I had always been a happy and optimistic person, but when the divorce came knocking at my door wielding its sword of destruction, I was completely and unequivocally unprepared to duel with it.

I had no other choice but to surrender. I had to swallow my pride and reach out for help. I could barely force myself out of my bed, and that wasn’t sufficient. I had daughters who needed me. I had a job that expected me to show up and teach energetic teenagers. I had bills to pay and a new future to wrap my head around. And, although I knew some of what I had to do, I felt powerless to do it.

So, where do you start? What can help you when you find yourself face-to-face with divorce? I can only share what has begun to help me. I am still very early on in the process, but here are a few suggestions and tips:

  1. Get counseling. Specifically, find someone trained in EMDR. It is a psychotherapy treatment designed to treat PTSD and anyone who has experienced trauma. Divorce is traumatic. At one of my darkest moments, when suicide felt like the best option, my therapist helped me regain control and peace through EMDR. It doesn’t solve the problem, but it helps you get on top of the waves of emotion that hit you relentlessly.
  2. Be kind to yourself. If you need to, take sick days off from work. It’s ok if the laundry isn’t folded. Have your kids cook dinner. Allow your family or friends to clean your home. Accept any and all help offered. You may feel like you should still be able to handle it all, but trust me—you can’t! The more you try to push yourself, the more damage you will do. Your body will physically begin to revolt. You may have already noticed your hair falling out, zits popping up on your face, weight gain/loss, insomnia, anxiety, constipation or diarrhea. Your body is under extreme stress, and you need to allow people to help you.
  3. Do one thing every day that makes you happy. For me, this took many forms. Some days I painted my nails. Sometimes it was grabbing my favorite donut. Occasionally, it was a drive up the canyon or a walk in the park. Binge-watching your favorite show on Netflix or buying that shirt you’ve been wanting is perfectly fine. Even on the days when the tears flow heavy down your cheeks, find one thing that can make you smile. Snuggle your kids. Plant some flowers. Nurture yourself.
  4. Make a plan. There are many things that have to happen during a divorce, so write things down in your planner. Make a checklist of what needs to be done legally. There are many online sources that can help. Here is just one: https://divorceandyourmoney.com/blogs/divorce-checklist/. Also, as key days become apparent such as the day your divorce will be final, plan activities that will help you emotionally on those days or immediately after. The grief from your divorce will come in waves. It can last for months or years to come depending on how tumultuous the process was for you. Some people feel tremendous relief while others grieve deeply. Look at the calendar and be proactive about those dates in the future that will be triggering for you.
  5. Assemble your tribe carefully. Surround yourself with good family, friends, and support groups. Let them carry you when you’re too weak to stand. There are FB groups or local groups that you can join to find others who are struggling with the same issues you are.
  6. Make a plan to heal. It doesn’t just take time; it also takes work. You do not need to endlessly dissect the relationship, but you should examine it so that you can learn from it. Everyone makes mistakes. Do not beat yourself up over all of yours. When a relationship ends, its demise belongs to two people, not just one. Own your part and then move on.
  7. Live in the present. There is a surge of anxiety that comes with divorce. The future you thought you were going to have is now gone. In its place are a lot of unknowns. You will literally drive yourself crazy agonizing over those. Take one day at a time. One decision at a time.
  8. It will get better . . . or at least that’s what they tell me. I have chosen a few key people who have walked this same path to be my mentors. They are several years down the road and many of them have new relationships. They assure me that the pain will not last forever. That the nights will stop being so dark, the days will become brighter, and eventually, I will stop praying for death to find me. Even more so, they promise me that there is life after divorce. And for now, their word is all I can go on.

 

In the weeks and months to come, I hope to continue to process this tremendous loss. I will grieve it like death because it is. But, I refuse to let it rob me of life. I may be down, but I am not out. I will re-emerge like the mythical phoenix. I will reinvent myself, find my joy, and live again. If you are confronting divorce, I invite you to join me.

 

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The Power of Paradigm Shifts

 

The Power of Paradigm Shifts

Jaunice spent all of her 20s and most of her 30s dating the wrong men, trying fad diets, spending hundreds of dollars on therapy, and failing to keep her New Year’s Resolutions. One Friday evening, alone again, she wept bitter tears as she snuggled in her bed and finished off a pint of chocolate ice cream. She knew the secret to success was out there, but why couldn’t she find it? Then one day, she found it in the least likely place—a sticky note on her coworker’s cubicle.

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“Hey, Jared, what is this sticky note all about?” Jaunice queried. “Oh, that’s just to remind me not to get stuck in a toxic loop when I get frustrated with myself,” Jared responded. “I know it seems stupid, but it really works. Everyone tends to get down on themselves when they feel like they fail over and over again. They say mean things to themselves in their head. That creates toxicity and literally stops you from improving. Having alternative phrases to say can help break that toxic loop and open the door for success and happiness. I used to have to look at this sticky note 50 times a day, but now a glance once or twice will help me throughout the day. I’m reprogramming my brain!” he said with a big grin.

Jaunice couldn’t help but smile back at Jared’s enthusiasm. He was right, it did seem really dumb. However, she definitely could relate to having a toxic loop tape in her head. In fact, it was so toxic that it kept her from trying things because the fear of failure was too intense. After a few days of pondering the idea of changing her mindset, she asked Jared if she could copy his sticky note. She put hers up on her mirror so she could review the principles as she got ready. She also took a picture of it on her cell phone so she could review it throughout the day. When she caught herself playing the toxic loop tape in her head, she would pull out her cell phone and look at the picture. She would change the phrasing in her head to match the growth mindset.

Within just a few days, Jaunice noticed that she felt less hopeless. Her anxiety levels dropped and she began to sleep better at night. She was pleasantly surprised at how much happier she felt and this translated into all areas of her life. She couldn’t deny how powerful this simple concept was—understanding that growth takes time but that it was possible for EVERYONE!

Image result for growth mindset quotes

 

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The Journey Begins

Meet Our Founder Tracy

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My Story… 2011, Tragedy strikes! Suddenly widowed with four small children. A stay at home mom with no clue about how to live life as a widow. Manual not included. A rusty resume. Then, a journey to the afterlife changed everything. The power of forgiveness and letting go. Learning to keep my sanity intact by remembering to laugh when life literally falls apart. Discovering my divine purpose. Helping others find love. How my own online dating flops, failures and mishaps led me to start Dating Safe. Leading the industry in secure online dating. Finding hope, faith, and optimism against all odds. Ultimately, learning how to tackle life events with humor, sorrow and most of all honesty.

 

About Dating Safe: 

 

IT’S NOT RIGHT THAT ONE PERSON CAN BE MASQUERADING AS 10 PEOPLE ONLINE! DATING SAFE IS TAKING STEPS TO MAKE ONLINE DATING SECURE. WE’VE TEAMED UP WITH YOTI TO VERIFY WHO A PERSON IS BY THEIR ID DRIVERS LICENSE / PASSPORT, A FACIAL SCAN, AND SELFIE. YOU WILL KNOW WHO YOU’RE MEETING ONLINE IS WHO THEY SAY THEY ARE.

While online dating continues to grow, people fall victim to dating fraud and romance scams which cost time, money, and emotional distress. Daters are required to trust that the people they meet online are who they claim to be. Yet fake profiles and bots on dating sites are not uncommon, and it’s too easy to be tricked or scammed by somebody using a false identity or hiding behind a fake profile. So, to solve that problem every member at Dating Safe is verified by government ID. We’re raising the bar by raising the barrier to entry. Thank you for joining us!