Around 40 million people in the United States alone use online dating services, but they’re not all doing it for the same reasons. For every story with a happy ending about online dating relationships, there’s a sad one about the man who’s already married or the woman who cleaned out the bank account. But some online dating stories are even more horrific. Some of these stories end at the morgue.
The Dangers of Dating
Sexual predators are probably as old as time itself, and they’ve never needed computers to carry out their deadly games. Jack the Ripper, the Boston Strangler, and countless others have preyed upon women without the aid of technology. Proponents of online dating argue that it isn’t any more dangerous than meeting a stranger face-to-face at a singles’ club or the grocery store. But is that true?
It’s hard to know exactly how dangerous online dating really is, because the big online dating sites have plenty of resources at their disposal. The dating industry earns upwards of $700 million a year in the United States alone.
Not everyone who uses online dating sites is looking for meaningful relationships. Some are looking for victims. Match.com is facing a lawsuit regarding one Philadelphia man who used the site to prey upon women using the site, women whom he drugged and raped.
One survey shows that about 20 percent of people who use online dating services lie about themselves, and the statistics get more frightening from there. Of the approximately 54.2 million singles in the U.S., around 41.2 million of them have tried online dating. Put together, eHarmony and Match.com have 36.5 million members. Annually, the online dating industry earns $1.2 billion per year.
Of those millions who use dating sites, an estimated 10 percent of them are sex offenders. Ten percent of 41 million Americans is more than 4 million sex offenders.
One woman is currently suing an online dating site because a man she was matched with attempted to murder her. The man in question did murder another woman just one month later. In the lawsuit, her lawyers have argued that the website gave her a false sense of security. She paid for the service, and that seems to inherently promise protection.
It doesn’t. Anyone can go online and lie about anything, and meet anyone…and attempt to kill that person. Some websites are putting security measures in place. True.com offers background checks, Match.com gives users temporary phone numbers. But even these methods won’t weed out every single sexual predator out there. Historically, the most clever murderers are very hard to find.