I felt so guilty after that I told him what I did the next week, and luckily, he forgave me.
But it was clear that my private life was getting too intertwined with my job, and I was abusing the power I’d been given. The work was enjoyable for a while, but ultimately, it was too mentally taxing to see how people abuse each other under the shield of anonymity.
The fact that people were getting robbed on the dating site was upsetting enough, but I found it particularly disheartening that the victims often seemed to have genuine feelings for the person catfishing them.
I took pride in my job, keeping the dating site a safe space, and here people were being scammed heartbroken.
These criminals—who also troll social media sites and chat rooms in search of romantic victims—usually claim to be Americans traveling or working abroad. While their most common targets are women over 40 who are divorced, widowed, and/or disabled, but every age group and demographic is at risk. You’re contacted online by someone who appears interested in you.
But since it was against the site’s terms of service, I had to follow the rules.
Reading the dialogue between sex workers and clients was eye-opening, and I found myself pleasantly surprised by how polite clients tended to be to the person offering services. One afternoon, I came across a man who was mass messaging all women in his area to see if he could pay them to come over, have a glass of wine, and play with their feet.
Then there were the people who used the site as a meat market, where they could harass and abuse other users — seriously, your worst nightmares about online dating are probably not that far from the truth.
I’d see people mass message others, copying and pasting a heartfelt paragraph that seemed personal and genuine to hundreds of other users.