If you just want the bottom line about the online dating lessons, go to the end of the post. But this online dating story is worth the read. Email and text excerpts that follow are authentic actual conversations (including misspellings) saved on my computer and cell phone.
The Last Love of Mark Rossi!
Less than 24 hours after I had put my online profile on the online dating website, Match.com, I was pleasantly surprised to get a message from Mark Rossi — age 62 (five years younger than me — could I handle being a cougar?). Mark’s profile showed him to be Italian/American, a widower, a successful international businessman and very good-looking!
“This looks really promising,” I thought. He asked to exchange personal email addresses and send additional photos of each other. The match was off to an exciting start. I chalked up the poor grammar to his foreign native language.
Here are a couple of excerpts from Mark Rossi
“My old friend and pastor would tell me, if you aren’t ready to feel or look stupid, then don’t fall in love ,lol but sincerely that is the bitter truth. When i lost my wife , he told me that the fact that something good ends doesn’t mean something better cant start. Can you prove that right? I have come to realize that let a man is reduced to nothing except he has a woman to call my companion.
I don’t need a super model, I rather need a very good friend, a good woman with a good heart, someone who knows when i am tensed just by looking into my eyes. The whole world may be mad at me, but if you are smiling at me, i would care less. Can’t wait to read from you again dear.I wish you have a wonderful evening ahead.Till I read from you again soon, sending you morning hugs.”
It all sounded great. But…
But I was asking him specific questions like how it was that he was located out of Bedford, Kentucky? And if Italian was his first language? The name of his business? But he never really answered those questions.
After a week or so the first shoe drops!
“I have been so busy today because something came up and i have to travel tonight to Dubai for a week, i was contacted by the customs there to come over to sign some confirmation papers because some security protocol was breached by the shipper during the shipment of my cars and some incomplete paperwork from Germany. The cars are 16 in total, a total of 4 – 20ft container consisting of 4 cars in each.
The plan was to ship down to Dubai, talk to a dealership and move them for sale. We can always communicate everyday through emails and phone until i get back home, I promise to keep in touch and seeing you would be top priority on my return.
This could be the beginning of forever and i would put my mind to it and i want you to also. please have a good evening, i would talk to you soon , please leave me your phone number.
Sending you hugs. Mark..”
So, what was so bothersome about this?
The delay did not bother me at all because I wasn’t so sure I was ready to meet him anyway. What bothered me is that there was no trace of an Italian accent in his voice during our phone conversation — despite the fact that he was supposedly raised in Italy until the age of 12.
I asked him again why he was based out of Kentucky, but I was not satisfied with the answer as he only spoke to getting out of Florida after his wife’s death.
Put on Your Investigator Hat!
Being the savvy investigator that I was, (wink, wink) I decided to check him out online.
The only Mark Rossi my google search found in Bedford, Kentucky looked nothing like my Mark. The guy was the wrong age, very scruffy looking and it was a mug shot.
Well, that can’t be him. So, I checked in California where he supposedly first lived and I checked in Florida. A little voice in me said that he might not be who he says he is. But, I decided to play it out, see where it led. Maybe he was just a really great guy.
Gullible? Yes, a bit!
I asked him to send me photos of himself in Dubai (to see if he is really there). Also, I decided I wanted to re-read his online profile as I could not remember everything on it.
After all, if I wanted to be the last love of Mark Rossi, I better double-check on what he actually had said about himself. But, the profile had been removed from the online dating site. (Not a healthy sign.)
What Happened to Mark’s Online Dating Profile?
“It was a Lovely day in Dubai and a pretty warm weather.
For your questions, I moved to Bedford to start a new life and create new memories with a new love and companion on a long term, someone i can love forever because i am commited to it and i am focusing on you alone now thats why took off my profile from match.com to ensure i can bring out the best of the relationship we have.
This busines has been lucrative since i started and thats why i invested a lot in this because its my last business trip before i retire to bring 16 cars in to sell at once to the dealership, i have two Porsche and four Ferrari among them , i wanna get into retirement because the income i get from this would establish me more and i would have agents to run this without leaving the house, my motive is to always be there for my companion, life is short m this is my last opportunity to be in love and i want to seize it .
I really dont have time for phone cameras now because this is business trip and i dont want jeopardize it for pleasure my next trip here has to be a vacation with my companion and lover and i see you as the one to occupy that position.”
Mark is pretty smooth, isn’t he?
The next day, I had notice of a security breach on my iCloud account and I had to reset the code. (Never really sure whether he had anything to do with this or not.)
The emails and text messages continued with romantic language and details of how the trip was going, etc. Then, the news! Mark was not going to fly home from Dubai, but instead was going to fly right into Kansas City.
Mark was Flying in to See Me
“My One and Only, I am about to sleep here. Tomorrow will be a long day for me I have to get every paper work cleared and have things back on track for the full release of all my shipments so i get to deal with the dealership that buys them before leaving for the states, can’t wait as it’s been a long week already.
I think of spending alot of time with you when I get back to town and holding you so close to me. Whenever you think of me, please know that no matter how many miles separate us or how much of our lives comes between us we would have many lovely times and fond memories.
Even though we’re apart, this will not be the end of our commitment until i meet you and i fell you in my arms.
Just always remember that I really adore you already and I want you to be part of me and me for you too as i can feel my lonely days are over.
Big Hugs sent your way. Love . Mark”
Click on the link below to see the itinerary.
When I first got the itinerary, I thought
Wow, he must be for real. He has booked a flight! Now what do I do?
I needed advice. I was excited that he might be for real but scared as to how to handle the situation if he actually showed up. Should I offer to pick him up at the airport? Should I suggest or book a hotel? Or, do I invite him to the house? What do I wear?
So, I contacted a couple of friends.
My sister-in-law recommended online dating and she has had considerable experience. So, I asked her.
She gave me good online dating advice.
- NO, you do not pick him up at the airport. You meet in a public place.
- No, you do not invite him to the house. You do not even tell him where you live when you meet through online dating. If he is an international business man, he can book his own hotel and get from the airport to the hotel on his own steam!
- Why don’t you meet someone local? If a guy sounds too good to be true, it is probably because he isn’t real — he’s a fake!
It didn’t sound very hospitable for someone who is traveling thousands of miles to see me, but I realized she made sense.
I contacted another friend with the good news and sent her a copy of the itinerary to prove that he was really coming to see me.
We agreed to meet over lunch the next day since this online dating encounter was heating up. My friend decided she needed to comb through my wardrobe to figure out whether I had anything suitable to wear. We are both excited and nervous. Then …
The Bubble Burst!
The next morning, I awoke to an email from Mark:
“My love, I have been asleep all afternoon in stumble and distress. it had been a bad day. I don’t know how to say it but i just have to say it as it would ease the burden.
I was robbed on my way to the seaport at gunpoint this morning, it was the worst experience i ever had. i am sorry I didn’t mean to show you this so you don’t feel bad or spoil your day but i just couldn’t hold it in my heart, i had to email it to you. Please download and view document, its a police report of today’s event.”
I bet you can figure out where this is going? Right? Well within an hour or so, Mark texted me further about his plight and I offered him my prayers.
That is not what Mark wanted.
He texted “The paperwork would finalize the major dealings here and I would be back home as planned and right now I need 2900USD to solve this problem within the next 24hours. So far no one is able to help me out. I am devastated.”
After some more back and forth he said:
“Honey is there anyway you can give me a short loan and when I return on Monday I would pay you back, I can double it for you. I feel so ashamed of myself asking you. I never wanna creat a wrong impression. I just wanna get out of this mess. Deadline got me so worried.”
What a load of crap!
I asked him why he didn’t just call his bank and get them to wire the funds to him. And, how could it be that he, an international business entrepreneur, had no one at his age of 62 who he could call besides a lady he had never even met? He had an answer for everything.
I told him I would have to think about that.
It took me about a minute to decide.
That was it. Mark had finally revealed the real reason that he had contacted me thru online dating in the first place. The gig was up. He called a few more times, but I did not take the calls. And my wardrobe make over could wait. The take away is this —
5 Online Dating Lessons:
- You need to meet someone in person, if you want to have any hope of knowing who they are. Otherwise, you only know what the online dating profile says and what they want you to know. a) They might still be hiding something that would be very obvious if you were to meet them in person. b) Some people have long distance relationships with what turns out to be a fantasy. The person is not what they think.
- Do a little research to find out about a person who might make a potential match from an online dating service as soon as you have a name. Try doing a search on your own name. It is surprising how much you can find out yourself that is actually out there and available if someone searches for it. a) Although it never occurred to me at the time, Mark Rossi probably was the guy in the mug shot. I just had never in my wildest dreams guessed that someone would go to the lengths that he did to perpetrate a fraud. b) The flight itinerary looked authentic at first glance. Reading it more carefully, KNS is not the symbol for Kansas City International. The symbol is MCI. When I checked the flight numbers through the airline, they do not exist. So, what looked real was just a fake. If Mark (or whoever he was) had used his skills for something positive there is no telling how successful he might have become.
- Read the online dating safety tips below. There is something similar on most websites. The links below are safety tips from Match.com which are buried at the bottom of their website. You can click the links below and copy them for a quick reference: Online-safety-tips and Offline-safety-tips As you read the tips you can see that if I had followed them, I would have easily avoided the situation.
- Be real when you put together an online profile. I was advised, for instance, not to list myself as a widow. But, to say that I was divorced instead. The premise is that gold diggers are looking for a recent widow because they think she probably has life insurance money. But I really would rather keep my radar up than start off by presenting myself as different from who I really am. I have met gentlemen that have shaved a few years off themselves in their profiles, probably this is true with ladies too. You don’t want or need to tell them everything, but whatever you do say in the profile of yourself, I would try to be honest. You want to find someone who likes YOU — not an image of someone you wish you were or someone you think is more desirable.
- Have fun with online dating! Don’t take yourself too seriously. If you are sitting home alone and would rather be in a relationship; if you want someone to share a meal or a drink with you, if you want to find your own “last love” go online and meet someone.
If you have done any online dating, I bet you have some great stories to share. We’d love to hear about them in the Reply box below. Meanwhile, live your life to the fullest!