I was surprised how easy it was to become “Ken Jump” for a day — in the world of online dating.
I was 70 years old, born on Christmas Day, and a big fan of watching television.
And nobody on dating sites OKCupid and PlentyOfFish knew any better.
My recent experiment with creating false profiles on those two popular, adults-only, dating sites illustrated just how simple it is to pretend you’re someone else.
Police officials warn that can be a problem when dealing with children.
In a recent criminal case in Lancaster County, a 12-year-old girl posing as someone older on OKCupid was victimized by three men in their 20s. The men were recently jailed for sexual abuse of the girl.
Local police say that scenario isn’t common here, but warned of how easy it is for a children to pose as someone older online and communicate with adults. Those adults, officials say, can sometimes have bad intentions.
Boy, was it ever easy for me to play pretend.
I had no problems posing as a rich, 70-year-old retiree with a Ph.D.
It took me all of three minutes to create a profile with OKCupid, feeding the site a phony name, birth date, and email address I had created a minute earlier through Google.
Simple as that, I was in.
The entry process was similar with PlentyOfFish.
Once my profile was made, I added a photo for other users to see, and went on to answering a few personal questions about my hobbies and preferences.
That’s how the sites match genuine users to similar profiles.
None of this required a stitch of truthfulness.
I claimed to be making over $150,000 a year, despite being retired and “not ambitious.”
I also claimed to be “boring” and a smoker.
(The Plenty of Fish site did spit back a prohibited message when I claimed to be married.)
While I had some fun with my experiment, local police officials were adamant that the world wide web presents a world of potential danger to kids.