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These guys and their data teams ran queries of all kinds and pulled spreadsheet after spreadsheet of information to try and answer our strange questions. We also needed OkCupid to get permission from their users to enable us to publish those popular profile pics. Grace Browne. Maryn McKenna. Ramin Skibba. Megan Farokhmanesh. Buried in all that data were some surprising facts about how to optimize your dating profile. It was 80 percent in Atlanta! Selfies are acceptable for women 45 percent of top-ranking straight women used them, as did 4 percent of lesbians , but not so much for men.

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Simon Hill. Matt Jancer. Would You Ditch All This Chaos for a Country in the Cloud? Balaji Srinivasan—technologist, investor, prophet, troll—says let the old world sink. Find your tribe and build your bespoke society, or get left behind.

My 4 Days in Fake Gay-Conversion Therapy In Scandinavia, role-playing weekends get immersive and extreme. This Larp seemed like fun—until my queer American brain snapped. Inside the Shadow Evacuation of Kabul In the last two weeks of the war, an ad hoc team armed with group chats, QR codes, and satellite maps launched a mad dash to save imperiled Afghan allies. Sayaka Murata Inhabits a Planet of Her Own The novelist makes the Earthly rituals of sex, marriage, childbirth—and all of human life—appear delightfully outlandish.

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Audrey Elaine Elrod was in rough financial shape as the holiday season drew near. She scraped together just enough to rent a square-foot garage apartment that she shared with a roommate, a gangly buffet cook a dozen years her junior. On the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, Elrod opened a checking account at a First Community Bank branch located just across the state line in the twin town of Bluefield, Virginia.

She would then return on subsequent days to make additional four-figure withdrawals until the account was nearly empty. Elrod would spend the next few hours visiting other Bluefield establishments that offer MoneyGram or Western Union services: the Advance America payday loan store, the Food City supermarket, the austere cash-for-titles joint located literally under Route Sometimes, if her phone bill was due or her refrigerator was barren, she kept a few dollars for herself.

His name was Duke Gregor. Grace Browne. Maryn McKenna. Ramin Skibba. Megan Farokhmanesh. I am a Mechanical Engineer with Transocean. I have a son named Kevin and by the Grace of God I will meet that someone again. The typical Facebook user would likely recognize such a note as bait, but Elrod was in a place in her life that made her vulnerable to such flattery.

She was in the midst of divorcing her husband of 14 years; his legal woes including arrests for benefits fraud and making a false bomb report had strained their marriage. Anxious about her future as an older single woman, Elrod lapped up the kind words about her looks—too few men seemed to appreciate her soft chin, wavy hair, and prominent brown eyes. He said he had stumbled across her profile while searching for a college friend who shared her last name; he also noted that his own surname was actually McGregor, not Gregor.

After a bit more flirtatious back-and-forth on Facebook, Elrod invited him to continue their conversation on Yahoo Messenger. Elrod and McGregor were soon chatting online for more than 12 hours a day.

McGregor often talked about the agony of losing his wife, Susan, who he said had died in a car accident in Edinburgh in McGregor was also a tremendous listener who never hesitated to lend Elrod a sympathetic ear. The boy wrote her bubbly emails about his closest school chum and his plans for Senior Day. Kevin scheduled a trip to Charlotte for his summer break, and Elrod sent him several hundred dollars to buy the plane ticket.

I could tell there was something wrong. McGregor soon reported that he had located Kevin in a hospital outside Manchester, where the boy was recovering from a horrific car crash. The medical bills were piling up and he was in no position to pay them—he said his bank account had been frozen because he was on an oil rig. Once Elrod obliged by sending money, McGregor began to make more exorbitant demands.

By September , Elrod was sending off three-quarters of her weekly take-home pay. She and her eight cats ate the cheapest food so the McGregors could have as much cash as possible. But McGregor belittled her for not doing enough: He urged her to pawn her car title too. McGregor explained that Sinclair needed help completing a few transactions for clients who wanted to either conceal their assets or convert their local currencies to dollars. If Elrod could pick up some wire transfers in Charlotte and forward them to Warri, Sinclair would make sure that Kevin had ample funds to visit the US.

Elrod was skeptical upon hearing mention of Nigeria, a place she vaguely knew as a font of email scams involving bogus princes.

This past March, John F. Campbell, who commands American forces in Afghanistan, posted an unusual statement on his Facebook page, which normally features bland accounts of his official business. Campbell felt compelled to issue this disclaimer after the Army discovered more than fake online profiles that purported to be the general: the handiwork of inventive and industrious criminals who specialize in fleecing the lovelorn.

These Internet con artists, known as Yahoo Boys in Nigeria, often masquerade as American military officers who are deployed in war zones, a ruse that gives them plenty of unassailable excuses should a victim wish to meet face-to-face.

Despite a slew of highly publicized warnings like the one made by Campbell, the romance-scam industry is flourishing as people become more accustomed to finding soul mates online. In the UK, a study by researchers at the University of Leicester and the University of Westminster estimated that , Britons had already been duped by Internet swindlers whose promises of love inevitably segue into demands for cash. The victims of these scams often share a particular psychological trait: an exceptional faith in the existence and importance of romantic destiny.

Psychologist Monica Whitty, a coauthor of the British study who specializes in romance-scam research, has found that although the people who get fooled by the Yahoo Boys are not necessarily lonelier or more trusting than their peers, they do tend to score highly on tests that measure how much they idealize romantic love.

They are thus prone to fall fast and hard for anyone who showers them with exaggerated affection, even if that affection is expressed only via emails and instant messages. Once a romance scammer has identified a vulnerable target, the trajectory of the ensuing crime is easy to predict.

Each con begins with a grooming phase, during which a scammer tries to create an intimate bond with his mark: He will deluge the potential victim with plagiarized love poems and mawkish texts and gently encourage her to reveal dark memories from her past. Those who are hoodwinked by the Crisis often keep shelling out money until they have nothing left to give, at which point the scammer will either vanish or gleefully reveal their deceit. There have been suicides because of this. The criminals responsible for causing that devastation are seldom apprehended, since so many are based in West African countries where the authorities are often understaffed or corrupt.

On a few recent occasions, scammers have been nabbed while venturing abroad. com, and MySpace. Sunmola, who frequently posed as a US Army major, allegedly convinced one victim to perform sex acts that he secretly recorded and then used in an extortion scheme.

For comparison, nearly 7, Americans received federal sentences for fraud in , with thousands more convicted at the state level. Even the most naive potential victims now shy away from wiring funds to Nigeria, a country notorious as a hotbed of Internet chicanery. So scammers have constructed elaborate networks of accomplices, colloquially known as money mules, in countries like the US that have good reputations for the rule of law.

In many instances, these accomplices were once victims themselves. In the freshly divorced Tracy was conned by a Yahoo Boy who claimed to be a soldier in Afghanistan. The Vasseurs were not ideal partners for the scammers, however, because they demanded hefty fees for their services—as much as 10 percent of each incoming wire transfer. The Yahoo Boys prefer victims-turned-accomplices who are motivated not by greed but by romantic delusion. Soon after she started working for Sinclair, Audrey Elrod encountered signs that she might be part of a sprawling scam.

Ten days later Cohen contacted Elrod on Facebook. While allegedly traveling from London to Los Angeles for a long-promised visit, Mike called to say he was being detained in Charlotte because of a custody dispute involving his teenage son, Ken. Cohen filed a police report in Charlotte a few weeks later, accusing Elrod of fraud. But by that time, Elrod was on her way out of the city. She felt she had no choice but to give away her beloved cats and move back in with her mother, who lived in the mountains near Grundy, Virginia, an impoverished area known for its hulking coke ovens.

Despite all the misfortune she had endured since meeting her Scottish beau, she still felt they were meant to be together. I believe that our love is blessed and ordained by God. It is a union of two spirits destined for everlasting happiness. Thus, you have become the knight and shining armor of my life. You offer me the joy of living, the peace of mind that comes from sharing and caring, and the shoulder to lean on. After a heated argument, Elrod packed up her belongings and vowed never to return.

The newly homeless Elrod got a friend to drive her to Bluefield, West Virginia, a coal-boom relic filled with deserted industrial plants and derelict homes in danger of being reclaimed by the forest. There she rented a room in a menacing neighborhood known as Drug Alley, where one of her six housemates slept with a machete in his hand. Despite this turmoil, Elrod never took a break from running errands for Sinclair. When that bank flagged her activity as suspicious and closed her account, she moved her business to a National Bank of Blacksburg branch in Bluefield, Virginia, just a few miles from her home.

The Bluefield on the West Virginia side of the border, the site of a Norfolk Southern rail yard, is the bigger and more decrepit of the twin towns. Wary of becoming a robbery target should anyone in Drug Alley get wise to her banking habits, Elrod moved to a garage apartment in a less ominous part of Bluefield—the place that she split with the buffet cook, whose name was Richard Ridalls.

She paid for the upgrade through a combination of unemployment benefits and street entrepreneurship: Folks on College Avenue quickly learned that Audrey was a reliable source for cheap toilet paper and illicit pain pills, which she obtained from her own prescriptions and from desperate neighbors in need of quick cash.

She occasionally supplemented her income by pocketing bills from the bundles that she was transmitting to Nigeria. Aside from rent and food, Elrod had two big expenses. The other was her phone bill: She now spent hours a day talking to McGregor, reveling in the sweet nothings he uttered in what sounded to her like a Scottish burr. He refused to Skype, claiming that his computer was too old to use the service.

One such person was Hassan Alrumaih, a year-old Saudi Arabian who was a friend of Ridalls and a student at Bluefield State College. When Alrumaih inquired about the source of the money, Elrod said it was from oil companies that were trying to reduce their tax liabilities.

On the morning of April 9, , Elrod made her weekly visit to the Ridgeview Plaza Walmart to wire money to Kevin. A store security officer interrupted her transaction and escorted her to a back room, where she was made to wait until two men arrived: C. They wished to interview Elrod as part of a Treasury Department investigation; they had been assigned to handle the matter because federal agents are few and far between in Southwest Virginia.

Elrod spoke candidly, albeit anxiously, about her relationships with McGregor and Sinclair. The investigators left without placing her under arrest. With you every minute spent is so amazing.

Showing so much affection, clinging at each other. Having each moment as the best times of our lives with your love I could not ask for anything. Thanks to the Patriot Act of , which stiffened the penalties for structuring with the aim of disrupting terrorist financing networks, Elrod was potentially facing decades in prison.

But the gravity of her situation seemed lost on Elrod. Within 24 hours of posting bond, she went right back to wiring money to Nigeria. Her public defender, Brian Beck, counseled her to explain her actions to the court, on the off-chance that she might elicit sympathy and avoid being tossed in jail until trial.

McGregor, on the other hand, encouraged her to flee, claiming that all he cared about was her personal safety. Elrod then caught a ride to the Charlotte area, where she rented a room in the town of Matthews. He spoke of the joy he would feel upon walking down the stairs at the Charlotte airport and seeing Elrod in the flesh for the first time.

But as the weeks went by and McGregor failed to finalize his travel plans, Elrod turned desperate. According to police who investigate online romantic cons, the scams follow a surprisingly consistent arc.

When the Boss of All Dating Apps Met the Pandemic,Banning Gas Cars Is Good, but It'll Take More to Save the Planet

AdFind Your Special Someone Online. Choose the Right Dating Site & Start Now! AdCompare Top 10 Online Dating Sites - Try the Best Dating Sites Today!There's not many online dating sites that you can try for blogger.com Sites Comparison · Special Offers · Meet The Best Canadians · Date in Your AreaService catalog: Dating Wizard, Personalising Your Result, Safe & Secure Profiles  · Tinder. Hinge. OkCupid. Match. A year ago, Shar Dubey became the CEO of a multibillion-dollar matchmaking empire. Then singles everywhere went into lockdown ... read more

The data shows that lesbians appreciate nice legs, gay men prize nice arms, and straight women and men are looking for flat stomachs above all else. Jason Anthony. Paul Ford. com, and MySpace. Top reviews Most recent Top reviews. Here Comes the Sun—to End Civilization.

They were dating like it was the end of the world. Dubey had spent years climbing through the C-suites at Match Group, where the conference rooms are named after love songs and one of the walls is covered in wedding announcements. Some of these items ship sooner than the others, wired magazine online dating. Brian Barrett. Tatkin was a primary inpatient group therapist at the John Bradshaw Center, where among other things, he taught mindfulness to patients and staff. One such person was Wired magazine online dating Alrumaih, a year-old Saudi Arabian who was a friend of Ridalls and a student at Bluefield State College. Distract me please.

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