What could be the biggest risk with online dating? Well, hopefully, this tragic love story as featured in the latest episode of Curious Stories Y will answer that question for you.
“A” and his girlfriend “B” met online, initially through B’s fashion blog. A, who had always been interested in fashion, also recently picked up on blogging — and when he came across B’s blog, he approached her with good intentions. With their love for fashion and many other things in common, the two hit it off really well.
I left comments on her posts and messaged her, trying to become friends with her. Eventually, I asked her for her KakaoTalk ID and talked to her a lot more.
After getting to know each other better, A and B made it official and began dating. Though it was a bond formed over the internet, they made it work — with unending threads of KakaoTalk messages. The two exchanged a lot of selfies and snapshots taken from moments of their daily lives. So they had not have been together physically, but they felt connected and A got deeply invested in the relationship.
She would send me pictures like this, of herself carrying a dog. And she would tell me she’s dog-sitting for someone. Or she would send me selfies like this and show me her dark circles under her eyes. And she would tell me that she is really tired or whatever. So it was all real.
And as lovestruck people do, A showered B with not only his undivided attention, but also the materialistic affection. When B began sending pictures of the newest, trendiest fashion products, A turned those into opportunities to prove his feelings for her. To afford these high-end brand gifts, A would break his back working extra part time jobs — but he was okay because he was in love.
It became pretty regular, like she would want something at least once a month. It broke my bank. It cost me about $4,000-5,000 a month. And I had to live broke… But I did it anyway.
Unfortunately, the human desire grows uncontrollably. A whole 9 months into the relationship, A couldn’t help but become more impatient with B. Every time A suggested that they take the relationship offline and meet in person, B got away with excuses. She would, instead, send him a lot of racy texts — and even shared nudes of herself. B also shared, “At one point, she sent her underwear in a package.” But no matter what, A couldn’t understand B’s secrecy.
Frustrated, A ended up taking a deep dive to find out a little more about B. Using B’s fashion blog ID, A began looking for other traces that B might have left online. And what he found in this search did change his life forever.
I remembered that she used to talk about selling shoes on a used marketplace type of a site. So I started looking around using her ID and name.
On one of the many sites that he checked, A finally came across an Instagram account that was in association with B’s ID. On this Instagram feed, he found multiple pictures featuring the things he bought for A… but being used by an unknown man.
At first, I thought it might be like a friend or relative trying it on or borrowing it. But what if it was someone else she was seeing? So I really wanted to find out who this big guy is.
A decided to take action. He traced down the man in the pictures by following the footsteps as captured in the feed. When A finally found and confronted the man, the man began apologizing. And like that, it became crystal clear: B had never been who she said she was. Instead, this man had been scamming A, making A believe that he was B the whole time!
What? Oh… Oh man, I’m so sorry… I understand if you’re angry with me. I guess you are right to feel tricked and betrayed. I know you feel like you have been used…
— Man In The Pictures
When Curious Stories Y sat down with B to talk about what happened, B confessed that his netkama (a term combining internet’s -net and the Japanese slang okama‘s -kama) life actually began when he was in elementary school. According to B, it stemmed from his history of being rejected.
When I would tell people that I’m feeling sad or hurt, they would tell me ‘Boys don’t get sad over things like that.’ I just wanted to be loved and looked after. When I started pretending to be a woman, a lot of guys came forward with such friendliness… So that’s how it started. I never wanted to take advantage of anyone by doing this. I just wanted the love and attention.
It turned out that B had been using his female cousin’s pictures to put up the whole female persona. This cousin, with whom he has not stayed in touch for years, also found out about the fact that B had “stolen her identity” — and in fact had reported him to the police three times. And since the ugly truth became uncovered, A grew absolutely disgusted with B and has been working on exposing him to the other “online boyfriends” that he kept along for his advantage. A revealed though, “I know B hasn’t stopped. Instead of his cousin’s picture, he now uses his real-life girlfriend’s picture to scam men. He needs to be stopped.”
Legal experts added, “If B’s ‘victims’ wanted to sue B for fraud, they would actually have a pretty strong case.” B’s cousin, whose pictures had been used without her consent, would also be able to take B to court for defamation. They warned, “B should not be pretending to be someone he is not, because it could get him into serious trouble.”
With that said, one of the biggest risks of online dating would be this unwelcome surprise that could be lurking in the unseen corners. Such “romance scams” have become rampant in today’s society, with more people connecting amongst themselves on the internet and through dating apps. So, if you are too looking for love online, always err on the side of caution.