One of our members has written this article to highlight a problem their family has experienced, in the hope that it may prevent something similar happening to your son or daughter.
"Our 28 year old son came to us about 6 months ago asking for us to get him a girlfriend! After the huge shock, as typically he is very shy, we got straight on it! We applied to some companies that organise outings but he was not comfortable with this idea, he’s recently began to read and write and loves his phone so I think his idea of a girlfriend is someone he could communicate with at a distance! We looked at some disabled dating agencies and settled on the site ‘Undateables' probably because the TV show shares the same name! We set up an account in his name, using his mobile phone number and his bank account to pay the monthly fee required!
He seemed to navigate the site and before long had ‘friends’ to chat to! He didn’t seem to want to talk to us about it so after the ‘don’t arrange to meet anyone or give anyone your address' type of talk we left him to it! When he returned from work, he would disappear upstairs and appeared to be communicating but was reluctant to share any of it with us, things seemed to be going well!
Christmas arrived and he bought amazon vouchers for his brothers and sisters, their partners and children but used my account to pay for them, this highlighted the fact that he had purchased one extra at £50. Of course I asked him about it and he told me it was a present for his girlfriend!! He told me not to tell anyone he had a girlfriend, which was a big ask of an excited mother whose son was advancing so well! I asked how she was going to receive it, to which he replied that he had given her the number on the voucher!
Within a week or two I discovered he had ordered another one, this time for £100! Now alarm bells were well and truly ringing! I managed to get out of him that she had said she had no money for her phone! I spoke to him and tried to explain what was almost definitely happening! Immediately he stopped the order and this ‘friend’ was deleted! His father stopped the account and we were spared!
I contacted the company to explain how our son was being scammed and they replied immediately but due to the closing of the account there was no way of tracing anything or anybody. There was apparently a box to use to report any misuse but we had not seen this and our prompt deleting of the account had left us with no way of getting any information.
"I’m not trying to say that a dating agency is not the way forward but we have learnt the hard way!"
Hopefully you guys can learn by our mistakes. We will definitely look into things in more detail e.g. the site sharing the same name as the TV show? More monitoring of his communications? Not make hasty decisions to delete accounts? And think long and hard about ways to keep these wonderful little/big beauties of ours safe and happy!"