I know January has three more days than February, but didn’t the second month of the year just fly by?Now that it’s March, many people start looking forward to spring and all the newness it brings. There is a glimmer of hope and possibility and many get a new spring in their step. Perhaps a new relationship will bloom. Before you start signing up for a stack of new dating apps and decide to get your swiping finger ready, there is a new Netflix series I urge you to watch.I first listened to the podcast and was flabbergasted as it was based on events from Debra Newell’s life and her experience of finding the man of her dreams online.The show is called Dirty John. It’s shocking, sad and quite pathetic in many ways, but it’s also real for plenty of people who have been duped and betrayed in online dating.While Newell’s story is extreme, it’s still important to realize you are not alone if you have been through a similar experience. I don’t want to give away too much as I really want you to watch it, but on the podcast they interview the real people the actors portray in the Netflix series.Listening to Newell speak about her so-called dream man was interesting because I think there is a little Debra Newell in all of us. We all have have faith, hope and believe in people and we can somehow dismiss warning signs.As much as it is wonderful to believe in people, there has to be a point where we draw the line and defer to rational thoughts.Here are some examples of red flags to be aware of if you have met someone online, socially or even through me:• If a person ever asks you for money, either as a loan or a gift, end communication. Do not believe those who suggest if you send money, you will be loved. Don’t do it. Call a friend. Think of it like a recovering alcoholic needing to call a sponsor rather than have a drink. Don’t lend or send money.• If several people in your life don’t have a good feeling about your new partner, perhaps listen to them. Don’t automatically shut them down. Not everyone is going to be thrilled — such as a jealous friend or a protective parent — but if kids, friends and co-workers suddenly look like they have had botox injections, it means you should be heeding the thoughts behind all of those raised eyebrows. Newell made an interesting point in her interview that before we buy a house, we get a home inspector to be sure there are no cracks in the foundation or other major flaws. Yet we want to hope so badly the new person in our life doesn’t have serious flaws that we almost avoid finding out or believing them when they appear.• If someone starts to exhibit controlling behaviour, such as not wanting you to go out with your friends, or wanting you to start changing your lifestyle, run for the hills.I know many people have had success with online dating (I am one of them), but times have changed — as have the apps, the scammers, the hackers and the users of these apps. They are not as genuine about relationships as they should be.Not only do you risk losing your identity, but when a John Meehan comes around and sweeps you off your feet, you just may fall and lose it all.If you are tired of the online dating scene and want an old-fashioned experience of being introduced to someone by a friend, I am that person. Contact me by email at holmes@wheretheheartis.ca — but I am currently on vacation and in hospital, so if you can etransfer me $10,000, I will love you forever.