Rapid City, SD Technology has quickly taken over our daily lives and some relationships have changed along with it.
Millions of users log on to dating websites every day.
It’s a modern-day love story – but without a happy ending. One local woman tells us her tale of online dating and how her relationship became a scam.
An anonymous source said “Had beautiful blue eyes. And I really like that because my boys had blue eyes.”
Jody Courtney seemed to be the one.
The military man was matched with our anonymous source on Christian Mingle back in November.
“Things hadn’t been easy for him and you have a soft place in your heart for people like that.”
He was deployed in Afghanistan, but the couple made it work sharing words of love through dozens of emails and thousands of texts.
“You sound so sweet, your messages are so nice. Those words don’t stop at your brain – they go straight to your heart.”
As Christmas neared – so did the seriousness of the relationship – but, our couple still didn’t meet in person, or even speak on the phone and sadly, Jody couldn’t make it home for the holidays.
“So that was a missed opportunity that I was very disappointed.”
But our anonymous source – clouded by love, saw hope in the future her companion would be home in February.
“Well, something came up – it’s going to be a couple of weeks. And then it was another couple of weeks. So what do you do? You still believe that they’re coming home.”
But the relationship then took a costly turn. Jody found himself in a dilemma. The Belle Fourche native didn’t have the right paperwork to make the long-awaited trek home.
And his solution would’ve racked up a hefty bill, but they say you can’t put a price on love, right?
“Being the trusting person that I am. I said well, ‘how much money are you talking?'”
“And that’s when all the red whistles and the bells and flags and everything went up. And at that point, I pretty much shut down. I didn’t say a whole lot to him.”
She reached out to Homeland Security and the Division of Criminal Investigation and well, this Jody Courtney doesn’t exist in the United States.
“They always say when God closes a door, he opens a window. Or, when God closes a door it’s meant to be closed. It was meant to be closed and I shouldn’t have kept knocking. Because I didn’t want this to go away. I thought this was real.”
And it doesn’t end there, the man thought to be our country’s hero – fighting overseas, well – he turned his aggression on the person he said he loved.
Texts of praise – quickly became threats.
“‘I will find you, I will hunt you down, you can’t hide from me.’ And that scared me. That really, really scared me.”
Leaving his girlfriend of about 6 months, alone in the dark.
“I had developed very deep feelings for this person. I’m not used to having someone tell me that I’m beautiful or how much they love me I’m the light of their world, or the air that makes them breathe. I was devastated.”
So she turned darkness into light – spreading awareness of the online dating dangers.
Christian Mingle said in a statement, “The safety of our members is of utmost concern … We have both technology and a human safety team in place that looks at each profile and image … to ensure that they meet our standards. Unfortunately nothing on the internet is foolproof and so we also encourage our members to read our safety tips and report any suspicious behavior.”
The Rapid City Police Department also has some advice.
If your match doesn’t want to meet in person or if money ever comes up in the conversation…
Brendyn Medina, the community relations specialist for the Rapid City Police Dept., said “It’s a dead give away that it’s probably someone looking for something other than a relationship.”
In which case, stop the conversation and most importantly, be aware.
Medina said “When it comes to scams. The best defense is just knowing what to be on the look out for.”
As for our anonymous source, she’s ready for the next chapter – but it might not include online dating.
“I learned my lesson this time. This may never happen again to me. But I’m not going to give it the opportunity to happen to me again.”
Christian Mingle also reminds users to keep conversations on the site as long as possible so they can help monitor.
But, when you are ready to meet in person – keep it in a safe place and tell others where you’re going.
And remember, if it sounds too good to be true – it probably is