Well, love is in the air this month.  As we all know it, February is often romantically celebrated with Valentine’s Day, which is actually coming around next Friday.  But even in the tech sector, February is also a month which is celebrated as companies from all over the world and of all different kinds and sizes even celebrate the products and services that they love, which are of course, technologically related.  In fact, I am even writing blogs for some clients this month on this very same subject.

I have tried the romance thing for quite a long time, and honestly, it can be quite a challenge at times.  Sometimes, it just seems so hard to try to figure out what your partner, soul mate, spouse, or what have you, is thinking. 

Believe me, unless you have been with that particular person for a very long time, it can be a difficult thing to achieve.  In this regard, I have many friends, family members, etc.  that are currently engaged in this romance game or have attempted it.

And it all comes down to this very same question:  Why can’t a man and a woman just get along with each other and simply not play games?  Why is romance so hard to accomplish?  I often use this analogy:  Heck, we can figure out how to land Neil Armstrong and eleven other astronauts to land on the moon, how come we can’t figure out to make a relationship click?

I have even asked this same question to therapists and marriage specialists.  Their answer is quite simply is that men and women are human beings with real emotions, needs, wants and feelings.  They are not robotic devices like Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Although this is very true, there is a lot more to it than just saying men are from Mars and women are from Venus. 

Anyways, if you are in a romantic relationship or are married, I wish you nothing but the very best and hope that you celebrate this coming Friday with your loved one in great happiness.  But now this comes down to the question of those that are still trying to be struck by Cupid’s arrow. 

There are many ways of doing this (and believe me, I have done all of them), and some of the most popular ways appear to be that of speed dating and making use of the online dating portals such as the likes of eharmony.com, match.com, christianmingle.com, plentyoffish.com, etc.

I actually tried the first one, about ten years ago, because it was at the time the most reputable dating site.  They make you fill out this ridiculously long questionnaire, and once that is submitted, you can then start receiving your matches and initiate the communications process with him or her. 

I used this for a couple of years, and I met some really interesting people, and even had a few relationships from it.  Back then, although eharmony.com’s mantra was to match people successfully, their other primary objective of course, was to do it in a safe manner, and to also ensure that continued level with their members. 

Back then, Cybersecurity, although heard of, was not of prime concern.  The only worry was that after you met somebody, there was a chance that person could be sort of crazy, and lead to stalkerish kinds of behavior.

But in today’s times, it is now a completely different story.  For instance, when you sign up for example, once again, for an account with eharmony.com and start virtually meeting people, the fear is now is this person even for real?  How do you know that he or she is not a Cyberattacker or even part of a hacking cult that is simply out to get to your Personal Identifiable Information (PII)?  This is how bad it has become.  What is even worse is that if this is actually the case, the tactics of Social Engineering are the primary means in which the Cyberattacker will get to you.  For example, it has been the tactics of fear and authority which have been used, especially when it comes to sending out Phishing Emails and Voice Phishing (aka VPhishing) scams. 

In this situation, the Cyberattacker will prey upon your needs to be loved, felt wanted, and fulfill that dream of yours to be in a romantic relationship.  Once they feel that you have let your guard down enough, it is then when he or she will start their cunning tactics to get to your passwords, and ultimately, your financial resources.

In fact, this has gotten so bad that the FBI just last week released a public announcement for Americans to be aware of not to fall for such scams, given how virtual the dating world has become.  In this, they have provided a number of key tips that one should make use of, no matter how far you are in conquest of a successful relationship:

*Only use the most, well established dating sites (once again, like eharmony.com or christianmingles.com);

*Given just how everything is now available on the Internet, you now even have the tools to research your potential mate.  Your best friend here is Google, and if you feel you want to, you can even initiate a full-blown background search without anybody knowing about it;

*Never, ever be suckered into donating or lending money, and under no circumstances give out your password, credit card number, or banking information;

*Do not believe or even empathize with your potential mate any “sob” stories he or she may share with you, until you have met in person, and can actually confirm it in a real, face to face to dialog;

*For a first date, always meet that person in a public venue, preferably when it is still daylight, in a well lit area, and where there are other people around (OK, this may sound lame, but even a first date at Starbuck’s is a great place to meet);

*If you have to travel overseas to meet your potential, future romance, make sure that there are no restrictions on the place you are visiting.  Always keep close family informed of your whereabouts, and give them a copy of your itinerary and passport, and other contact information while you are away;

*If it sounds too good to be true, it most probably is;

*If the first topic of conversation is about money, then immediately cease all communications.

My Thoughts On This

It is important to keep in mind that finding love is simply not restricted the online dating sites.  Given how interconnected our world has become (for the better or worse), other popular tools such as Social Media sites and mobile apps are becoming of great use also.  Heck, even texting still remains a popular means as well.  In these situations, as well, the above safeguards just described also hold true as well. 

Equally important to remember is the site, or mobile app that you are logging into.  There could even be a chance that it could even be spoofed, although it looks completely like the real thing.  But in the end, it all comes back down to this proverbial saying, you can’t be rewarded unless you are taking risks.  But, take calculated risks.  Know how far you want to go.  In other words, just don’t simply dive into a pool of water unless you know how deep it is.

In all honesty, the best way to meet a potential mate is just to do it in person.  Let your family and friends know that you are on the “hunt” (for lack of a better term) and see if they can introduce to you people that are looking likewise. Although the virtual world might be convenient and easy to use, meeting people the good old fashioned always works best, in my opinion.