Asking For Money: 13 Red Flags To Look Out For While Dating Online
One must be aware and cautious of potential red flags to ensure their safety, even though online dating has emerged as a convenience compared to physical meetups
The brutal murder of 26-year-old Starlet Wahu Mwangi, the younger sister to Nairobi-based Pastor Victor Kanyari, has exposed the dangers that emerge during online courtships and resulting face-to-face meetups that can attract devastating consequences.
After the murder was widely reported, causing shockwaves countrywide and linking John Matara as the prime suspect in Wahu's murder, several individuals who claimed to be victims of her alleged killer exposed terrifying ordeals of the heinous actions he perpetrated against them.
The majority of the chilling accounts by the victims all pointed out the genesis of their woes; they met Matara online through dating websites with the suspect splashing money on them before agreeing to meet at Airbnbs.
It is there that he assaulted them and forcefully extorted money from them, their family and friends before disappearing into thin air. Many of such cases go unreported.
CCTV footage showing Starlet Wahu with a man at an Airbnb apartment in Nairobi's South B. /K24
The dangers of online dating, as it has now emerged, have seen culprits target what modern-day social media refer to as 'baddies', attractive women who effortlessly stand out from the rest with some flaunting lavish lifestyles, especially on Instagram, which was the case in Wahu's murder, with the suspect reportedly demanding Ksh500,000 from her during their interaction preceding her demise.
While Gen Z has turned to online forums, dating and friendship apps, video games and other social media apps for connection, which has led to an abyss of options rooted in the superficiality of looks and likes, it is important to be watchful of individuals he or she meets online who use all manner of enticing tricks, including promising money and dream vacations to mask their true, dark intentions.
As such, one must be aware and cautious of potential red flags to ensure their safety, even though online dating has emerged as a convenience compared to physical meetups at restaurants, bars, social gatherings or even outside your house.
Here are some red flags to watch out for in online dating:
Too Good to Be True
Be wary of profiles that seem perfect or too good to be true. Scammers may create fake profiles with attractive photos and an idealized persona that makes it easy for their targets to easily approach them.
If the person has very few photos on their profile or the photos appear overly edited or inconsistent, it could be a sign of deception.
If the profile lacks detailed information about the person, such as hobbies, interests, or specific details about their life, be cautious.
Unwillingness to Share Information
If your match is hesitant to share personal details or avoids questions about their background, it could be a red flag.
Fast-Paced Relationship Progression
Be cautious if someone pushes for a fast progression in the relationship, such as expressing love or wanting to meet in person very quickly. Scammers may rush to establish trust.
Asking for Money
Never send money to someone you've met online. If your match starts asking for financial assistance or tells a sob story, be sceptical.
This was one of the notorious red flags Matara's victims had during their encounters with him, with some narrating that he extorted money from her relatives and friends amounting to approximately Ksh50,000 before tying her to a chair and locking the door from outside.
Pay attention to inconsistencies in their stories or if details about their life seem to change. Scammers often have difficulty keeping their lies straight.
Refusal to Video Chat or Meet in Person
If the person consistently avoids video calls or in-person meetings and provides excuses, it could be a sign of deception.
Overuse of Pet Names or Compliments
Be cautious if someone uses overly affectionate language or bombards you with compliments too quickly. It could be a tactic to manipulate emotions.
In this case, if a man or woman happens to use the words 'babe' more than twice at a go, be careful. Some scammers also use pet names during an argument to make people believe that it is an altercation between couples that they would rather keep off than intervene, especially in residences.
Google Image Search
Use reverse image search to check if the profile pictures are stolen from someone else's social media or website.
On some dating apps that Viral Tea conducted spot checks on, some online users used photos stolen from other people's social media accounts and impersonated them to lure innocent targets.
Aggressive or Controlling Behavior
If your match becomes overly possessive, controlling, or exhibits aggressive behaviour, take it as a serious red flag.
It was reported that Starlet Wahu may have caught wind of Matara's behaviour but died before she could expose it to the limelight.
If you come across the same person with different profiles or notice inconsistencies in the information they provide, be wary.
It is almost like how taxi drivers particularly in the country may use different apps but possess the same profile, or different profiles possibly to conceal their reportedly dangerous reputation.
Avoidance of Personal Meetings
If your match consistently avoids making plans to meet in person and provides vague reasons, it could be a cause for concern.
Remember, the goal of meeting online is you set up a period satisfying both parties for you to meet in person.
Always prioritize your safety when engaging in online dating. Trust your instincts, and if something feels off, take the time to investigate or distance yourself from the situation.