Internet dating the movie

10 Feb

I don’t know why, but my friends and I suspect that most older men don’t come out of a relationship unless there is another woman waiting in the wings.

Or they pick up someone very quickly in a bar or club. I have a great social life and lots of friends but I’d really like to share that with someone special. So I texted him to say: ‘I know you’re coming from a long way away so can I arrange the spare room for you tonight or would you prefer a local B&B?

Nonetheless, she didn’t want to be alone forever, so when she heard about an internet dating site for single parents like herself, she joined without a second thought, Jenny told Channel 4 News in a programme that will be aired tonight.

Describing her interests as ‘going to the theatre and restaurants, enjoying country walks as long as they feature a tea shop’, she was hopeful she would meet mature, like-minded men who understood the difficulties of bringing up a child alone.

Finding fake profiles was a secretive and calculated process, with the team scouring social networking sites and stealing people’s photos to use on their fake profiles: ‘You’d take Helga from Iceland and make her into Helen from Manchester and write a profile,’ says Ryan.

‘You’d use her features and invent a whole new person.’ The role of the fake profiles — or ‘pseudos’ as they were called by employees — was to email members flirtatious messages to entice them into continuing their subscriptions.

I’d seen David’s profile online and we’d exchanged a few emails. When you’ve come out of a long-term relationship, your confidence can hit rock bottom. I was so out of practice, but we had a great time and it boosted my confidence.

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I made a very stupid mistake when I first started internet dating. It was a really stupid thing to do, so now I’m much more careful.He was my age but, had I known the site he was on, I would have hauled him out on the grounds that it was a ridiculous name. It made me think my profile might have been edited.I was perplexed.’Channel 4 News investigators spoke to whistle-blower Ryan Pitcher, who joined the company in 2008 and a second, unnamed, employee, who detailed the suspicious way in which they were recruited, when they were warned they were not to discuss their duties with family and friends.Within weeks, Jenny got her first warning signal: She’d begun emailing a fellow single parent from her area and the pair had swapped phone numbers:‘I texted him and said “it’s Jenny from Just Single Parents” and he replied “what? ‘I know I got emails that weren’t from real people,’ she told Channel 4 News.‘You’d ask a man a question, such as how many children he had, and would get a reply tell you how happy they are they’ve met you.’She adds: ‘You don’t realise to start with that these companies they have “ice breaker” messages saying “I like your profile” or “you’ve got a lovely smile” that are sent to all the women in East Sussex between the ages of 35 and 55. After a while you realise a lot of the messages you get are sent to hundreds of people, not just you.’‘I remember one email I got that persuaded me to re-join was from a good-looking, wealthy single father who ran his own building business,’ says Jenny.