He responded, and they fell into a casual online conversation."He was very kind," Dede told me. In one, he was sliding an omelet off a pan into a plate held by a disabled soldier.
During one of their Yahoo Messenger chats not long before he was due to return, Mark raised something a bit odd.Dede (not her real name), who lives in Montgomery County, Md., thought she'd found him once. A mother of three, she divorced after 24 years of marriage."It was not my decision," Dede said. Of course, there's one sure-fire way of maximizing exposure to multiple potential partners, and that's by harnessing the power of the Internet.Still, she said, "it was something that needed to happen."Dede had been out of the dating scene for a while. Dede is not of the age that typically uses online dating.Single women can find him on the dating site Date Me Mate Me.com, where he confesses to being "Very new to this dating thing and am looking to see where this takes me." At Fish Meet Fish.com, under the username Real Chandler, he explains, "I would love my first date to be something special."At Girls Datefor Free.com, Chandler describes himself as being 6-2 and weighing 158 pounds.At Adult he is 5-11 and weighs a worrisome 85 pounds.In January, Mark wrote Dede that he was coming home and even sent a PDF file detailing his itinerary.
(He was flying on Lufthansa from Kuwait to Germany to Baltimore.) He'd floated to Dede the idea of staying with her, but that wasn't something she could agree to.
A box he was shipping home was unexpectedly held up in London.
The contents were quite valuable, and the insurance was expensive."He didn't come out right away and say, 'I need ,000,'" Dede said.
According to his profile, Mark, 58, was from Killeen, Texas, but currently living in Baltimore."I'm thinking Baltimore's not too far away," Dede said.
What she especially liked about Mark was the age range of women he said he was interested in meeting: 50 to 68.
The reverse image search turned up the real person in the photo: Raymond Chandler, who recently stepped down as sergeant major of the Army. Using the images — and, often, real biographical information — they create fictitious profiles and prey on women."I've talked to people who've given up to ,000 and never met the person," said Chris Grey, of the U. Some, like Dede's, ask for money to ship something.