Can I Trust a Free Advice Column?

Jun 9, 2023 | 1 comment

There are lots of totally no charge discussion boards, message boards and advice columns around but you need to be cautious about which ones to use.
Some are aimed at people with a specific condition, problem or illness, males or females or a certain age group, they might be for people who are married or single or in a certain profession,  i.e. for those with diabetes, many are aimed at people who are wanting to give or receive free advice column help about their mental health or relationship. Anyone who is struggling with depression or anxiety will find it is worth considering investing some time in chatting on a free advice column which is specifically for this but always be careful when using any forums of any type not to give too much information about yourself, do not share your real name, location, address, phone number or email address and never give specifics about your problem or situation that could embarrass you or cause you problems later or which make it possible for the person to be able to work out who you are.
One of the snags with using a free advice column is that you can soon get sucked into trusting and liking the person you are swapping information with and seeing them as a friend, maybe even a trusted and very good friend or best friend, when in reality they are no such thing and there should be boundaries, restrictions and caution at all times.
Some message boards are full of predators such as men looking for sex chat and meets, particularly married men or old men, or scammers who are after money.
These people do this regularly and are used to trying this on with their victims. They do not care about you and may well tell you whatever you want to hear to get you to trust them or give them what they want.  Unfortunately it is not possible for any advice column, let alone a free advice column to scrutinise, check out and monitor every post or the people who use those boards. It is down to you to check out who you trust and give your time to and protect yourself. This can be difficult if you are someone who is honest, decent, respectful and not used to dealing with or looking out for people who are not. But it is a good idea to remember that the people you know at work, neighbours and friends are not necessarily as nice and simple as they seem.  Even in every day life you see this all the time, where someone you have known for years is arrested. It might be a celebrity, it might be someone you lived next door to, people can show different sides of their personality and pretend to be someone they are not when it suits them.
It is simply easier for them to do this online when using an advice column.  The people we meet in real life might be opportunists who strike once in a blue moon when they see something worth aiming for, but the people who are online and using the message boards, discussion forums etc are often professionals who do it all day long or people who go online specifically to find a victim and there are more of them.
To give you an idea of what I mean I signed onto a new free advice column board which was supposedly for children.  I pretended to be a girl of fourteen. I soon received lots of messages from men who were far older than my father would have been, or even my grandfather very often, nagging me for nude photos and sex meets.  Guys like this would rarely get the chance to speak to a fourteen year old girl like this in real life, but online they go looking and find plenty. Of course, they are sleazy, selfish and do not care about breaking the law. To give you an idea of how desperate and determined these guys are to meet a fourteen year old girl they would travel a thousand miles if she let them. The same men might offer a grown woman a lot of money if they can have sex with her young daughter. It is easy for them to say all of these brazen and disgusting things while hiding behind their computer screen, and they have nothing to lose and much to gain if they succeed.
The free advice column boards you should be wary of are those that are specifically for money and investments.  Where someone is supposedly offering you a chance to invest a tiny amount of money which they claim will make you an enormous profit quickly.  Or where you are promised a terrific job if you send them some money.  All of these are designed to lure in those looking for a get rich quick scheme, but ask yourself honestly, would they really need to reach out to total strangers if they could offer such wonderful things? Surely their family and friends would have bitten their hands off and there would be none of these wonderful things left!  As for a job. Nobody with any sense is going to hire someone to do a job simply because they gave them a small bribe.  Only a fool would hire someone who  does not have the necessary qualifications and requirements.
You should also be wary about some of the free advice column boards aimed at people looking for an online relationship.  If they are claiming to be gorgeous, young and rich the odds are it is not true. Especially if they say they prefer someone much older, and it is fine if they are fat and ugly and poor.  Most of these lead up to you being asked to send them money to help them with this and that and promising to meet you later, but of course they never do and they do not really exist. That gorgeous young woman who claims to have inherited twenty bars of gold she will share with you is really a boring old Nigerian man who earns his living scamming people who are looking for an easy fantastic life.


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