Caryl Daniels has been married for 10 years now. She met her husband online when she was living in South Africa and he was living in New York. After chatting for 18 months, they finally met in person.
"They say love has no boundaries and I believe in that, but you need to be careful," said Daniels.
According to Caryl, her son is proof not every online connection ends well. "He fell head over heels in love. Thinking - Mom did it. She succeeded, it's good," said Daniels.
Caryl says she started having suspicions about her son Robin's "internet girlfriend" after they'd been together two years and all he'd ever seen were photos. When Caryl starting asking questions and even offered to buy the woman a web cam, that's when she says the girlfriend's story started to unravel.
"I got an email from Robin saying she's got an incurable disease, and I started to think - incurable? And she's only telling you now, two years later?" Caryl described.
Caryl started digging, and what she uncovered horrified her and broke her son's heart. She says the photos of the woman her son had fallen in love were actually pictures of a married woman's daughter's friend—likely taken from an unsuspecting girl's Facebook page.
"I have no clue why she would want to ruin someone's life," said Daniels. "But for four years I wondered why this pretty girl would sit waiting at a computer - when you're older you're wiser. And you put things together, you hear things and they just don't add up."
Caryl says the biggest warning signal was the woman's refusal to use a web cam. Cyber security and safety specialist Chris Duque agrees.
"It's harder to manipulate a live video feed than one that's already pre-recorded," said Duque, a retired Honolulu Police detective.
Duque says stories like Caryl's are quite common. It's one of the reasons why dating service Matchmaking Introductions Hawaii conducts background checks on all of their clients.
"Nobody wants to go into a relationship and six months down the line they realize that the person that they've been dating has a criminal history or was actually still married," said Ami Allan, Matchmaking Introductions Hawaii's General Manager.
Caryl says she hopes her son's nightmare will help others learn a valuable lesson about finding love online.
"If you don't see them, possibly they're never going to be there," said Daniels.
A study last year found as many as 25 million people per month are using dating services to look for love online. Internet safety experts say you can never be too careful. They recommend taking any new relationship or friendship slowly and say you should always be cautious about the personal details you provide.
Saturday, May 25 2013 6:31 PM EDT2013-05-25 22:31:35 GMT
Oklahoma natives are raising money to help tornado victims who are now forced to rebuild their town after an EF-5 twister ripped through Moore, Oklahoma last Monday. "Every little bit helps," said ValliMore >>
Oklahoma natives are raising money to help tornado victims who are now forced to rebuild their town after an EF-5 twister ripped through Moore, Oklahoma last Monday.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 10:51 PM EDT2013-05-25 02:51:03 GMT
Eileen Faucette-Robinson is fed up with the problems; years of problems, from what she says is a result of an apartment complex towering over her backyard."Situations like this where there is a healthMore >>
Eileen Faucette-Robinson is fed up with the problems; years of problems, from what she says is a result of an apartment complex towering over her backyard.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 9:45 PM EDT2013-05-25 01:45:01 GMT
The Georgia-Carolina Council for the Boy Scouts of America voted against allowing gays to join the Boy Scouts. They say they voted against changing the membership standards because 85% of the 2,700 constituentsMore >>
The Georgia-Carolina Council for the Boy Scouts of America voted against allowing gays to join the Boy Scouts.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 8:45 PM EDT2013-05-25 00:45:32 GMT
Mobility Transit Services, the company that runs the Augusta Public Transit, is suing the City of Augusta after they claim their contract was unlawfully terminated. "The Augusta Commission in a meetingMore >>
Mobility Transit Services, the company that runs the Augusta Public Transit, is suing the City of Augusta after they claim their contract was unlawfully terminated.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 10:53 AM EDT2013-05-24 14:53:19 GMT
Ryan David Jones/Source: RCSO
Friends and neighbors now say the Jones Family, Edna, Roosevelt, and Russell, are the victims of a suspected triple homicide in South Augusta.The Richmond County Sheriff's Office has been investigatingMore >>
The Richmond County Sheriff Office has charged Ryan David Jones with 3 counts of Murder and Possession of a Firearm during the Commission of a Crime.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 8:54 AM EDT2013-05-24 12:54:11 GMT
The Richmond County Coroner's Office has confirmed a bicyclist has been struck and killed on Peach Orchard Road.Robert Donald Holden, Jr, of Hephzibah, was pronounced dead at the scene on the 3500 blockMore >>
The Richmond County Coroner's Office has confirmed a bicyclist has been struck and killed on Peach Orchard Road.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 8:00 AM EDT2013-05-24 12:00:17 GMT
For 12 years Denise Glasford's sister fought in the Army, but died last year on Memorial Day. "Thinking about her and wishing she was still here with us," Glasford said. "It's been a tough year for the family." GlasfordMore >>
Glasford and her niece and nephew are three of dozens of family members paying tribute to soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice. Here at Fort Gordon's Warrior Remembrance Memorial Day Ceremony, they're honoring those killed, and remembering those they left behind. Soldiers say the national holiday is much more than a day off from work to barbeque and celebrate.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 11:43 PM EDT2013-05-24 03:43:19 GMT
The Richmond County Sheriff's Office is investigating a shooting at the Cedar Grove Apartments.That's off of Deans Bridge Road.Residents in the area say that two people were shot and taken to the hospital.More >>
The Richmond County Sheriff's Office is investigating a shooting at the Cedar Grove Apartments.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 11:07 PM EDT2013-05-24 03:07:55 GMT
Praying and singing through their grief, dozens of people remembered the lives of Roosevelt, Edna and Russell Jones Thursday evening. "It hit me hard because this was like another family to me," saidMore >>
Praying and singing through their grief, dozens of people remembered the lives of Roosevelt, Edna and Russell Jones Thursday evening.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 10:53 PM EDT2013-05-24 02:53:59 GMT
An Aiken County man is in the hospital after being hit by a car in an alleged domestic dispute.The Aiken County Sheriff's Office received a call just after 7:30pm Thursday evening about a pedestrian beingMore >>
An Aiken County man is in the hospital after being hit by a car in an alleged domestic dispute.More >>