The Cyber Love Detectives; Is Your Hot Date All He Seems? Log on to the Net, Type His Name and Brace Yourself - It May Be a Shock

Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland), October 10, 2001 | Go to article overview

The Cyber Love Detectives; Is Your Hot Date All He Seems? Log on to the Net, Type His Name and Brace Yourself - It May Be a Shock


Byline: MARIA CROCE

IT'S the craze which is taking over America and is now hitting Scotland. You meet someone new and want to find out more about them, but rather than quizzing their friends for information, you turn internet detective.

Young people across Scotland are now checking out their new romance in cyberspace -but not everyone is happy with what they discover.

After typing in your new date's details, you may decide it's safer to stand them up.

Heather Luscombe, on-line marketing manager at Big Mouth Media in Edinburgh, works closely with search engines and can log trends of Internet usage.

She said: "We've noticed that a lot of people are checking out potential partners on the web - as well as looking themselves up.

"It's been nicknamed `googling' because the search engine they tend to use is Google. It has more than a billion web pages indexed so you can find random pieces of information.

"It's amazing what you can find out. You could discover someone's a bigamist, what hobbies they have or track down photos of your blind date.

"The trend has really taken off in the last few months in the UK, but it's been going on in America for longer. In the States, professionals are checking out their dates before deciding whether to meet up with them.:

But she does advise caution: "You might find information about someone who just happens to share the same name. A friend of mine typed in her name and found a site for a porn star - she was horrified."

JO FOSTER

36, from Manchester

WHEN Jo Foster split from her husband of 12 years after he cheated on her, she thought she'd found the perfect man to mend her heart.

But when she checked out her new Edinburgh lover on the Internet, she was shocked by what she discovered.

Jo recalled: "It was only four months after I'd split up from my husband, so I was quite vulnerable.

"I met Sam in a bar in Manchester and we got on really well. He was a 39-year-old account executive who lived in Edinburgh, but explained he was in town on business.

"We started seeing each other and although I was cautious at first, it was going so well that I let my guard down. I really liked him and even introduced him to my family.

"He said he'd lived with someone for a number of years, but it hadn't worked out. I thought he'd been hurt like me. He was a really attractive guy - quite trendy. We used to like going clubbing and to the cinema. We had a lot in common and he made me laugh."

The pair would meet up at weekends when Sam would travel to see Jo at her home in Manchester or she would go to see him in Edinburgh.

She said: "Every time we arranged to meet in Edinburgh, he'd always suggest taking me away to a hotel for a weekend. I thought it was really romantic - I didn't really think about the fact that I'd never seen where he lived."

After the pair had been together for six months, Jo was on a night out with friends when the conversation turned to the Internet.

She said: "One of my friends was chatting about how much you could find out about someone by looking them up on the Internet. I suppose it must have sown a seed in my mind.

"Later, when I was on my own, I started to think about the fact that I'd never seen Sam's house and I began to wonder whether he was hiding something from me. It only took a few moments to tap in his details into my computer at home, but I couldn't believe what I found."

Jo sat open-mouthed in horror when a wedding photo of Sam appeared on her computer screen - standing alongside his bride.

She said: "It was horrifying. I really didn't expect to find that."

Jo rang her best friend in a panic. She recalled: "I was in bits. My gut feeling was that he was still married, but my friend told me I had to speak to him."

Jo telephoned Sam and told him what she'd found. …

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