We’ve all heard stories of couples who met on online dating sites and fell in love. Online dating does and can work. Unfortunately just like any other online life facets; dating cons have dramatically increased over the years. In fact, lying especially on online dating profiles has become so prevalent that the term “being catfished” was coined for it. Whether communicating with someone claiming to be someone they are not, or with a criminal intending to con you of your life savings or worse, intends to harm you physically, you should always be on the lookout. The good news is that if you are keen enough, there are tell tale signs that one has a fake profile. A fake profile means that the person on the other end isn’t sincere, has something to hide!
Tip 1: Profile description
Profile descriptions do vary. However, there are some common trends that tend to be found in most fake profiles. When it sounds so good, when it looks so nice and perfect, always think twice. A female’s profile will always hint or mention of how perfect she is as a wife, how she loves and enjoys cooking, caring for the kids and making her man happy. A man’s profile will emphasize on loyalty, success, and how he’s family oriented. Also, scammers will always have a sob story going on for them. Stuff like I just left an abusive relationship, my partner cheated on me, and other stories to seek sympathy and generate a soft spot inside you.
Tip 2: Public records
Do some investigation of the person’s public records using search engines. In case the person said he/she owns property such as a house, you will be able to easily tell whether it is true or not, where the house is and even how long they have had it. You can also find records of divorce, bankruptcy or even marriage licenses. Some states and cities even post traffic tickets online. Public records will also show what other people have said about the person. Do not disregard these warnings.
Tip 3: Photos
Initially scammers used to use photos stolen from models to create their fake profiles. But recently, they have resorted to using pictures of real people which they download online. Female profiles will often tend to have a picture of a young and beautiful woman whereas a man’s profile will have a picture of a more mature, good-looking man. To be able to tell whether the profile is real or not do an internet search using Google to find out if the photos show up somewhere else. Scammers tend to reuse the same photo on various dating sites.
Tip 4: Occupations
The Occupation of person you’re chatting with is a crucial piece of information that can be used to determine whether a profile is real or fake. Often, male profiles indicate that they’re working in the military, are businessman, missionaries or engineers. The point here is to make you believe that they’re constantly traveling. Female profiles, on the other hand tend to lie that they’re volunteers or students. The point here is to feign vulnerability, that shy student you’d want to spoil and spend on, or that volunteer doing a noble job but stuck in a dangerous spot; it makes you feel like ‘rescuing’ or helping her get out of there, right? It could very well be a trap!
Tip 5: Does the person’s stories match up?
It is hard to separate fake life from real life. If a person is pretending to be someone they are not, they’ll betray themselves sooner or later. For instance, if the person claims to have no siblings and accidentally slips and comments about his/her sister, take note that they lied and are probably lying about other things.
Tip 6: If the person won’t carry on a video chat or telephone conversation
Video chatting with someone you have met on an online dating site is a normal and common practice. In fact, many couples who have met through these sites admitted that their first real talk was by video or phone. Therefore, if a person makes up excuses every time you want to talk via phone or Skype consider it a red flag. The person might claim not to have the time, or his/her camera is broken, but bear in mind that every modern day laptop, tablet, and smartphone have the capability to video chat. If you repeatedly ask them and they keep giving excuses, be weary as this person has secrets they don’t want you knowing.
Tip 7: Form a picture of the person, by consulting the internet?
It is very rare to come across someone with no diverse internet presence all. In other words, they’ll either be active on a dating site, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, LinkedIn, and other online platforms. If you carry out a basic research such as looking through social media and find nothing about the person, consider that a red flag. Even the most strict social media sites at least show the first page of a person’s profile for example if a person claims to be a professional, he/she will at least have a LinkedIn profile. Therefore if you can’t come up with anything on the internet about the person, then it means he/she might not have told you his/her real name which again is a red flag.
Tip 8: Target group
Most online dating sites request users to indicate age range within which their potential partners should fall into. Scammers rarely indicate their age preference, because they have ulterior motives, they simply don’t attach much importance to the age of who they’ll chat up.
Tip 9: Attempts to move away from regulated environments
Scammers know that it is a matter of time before their scam gets discovered thus they often attempt to quickly move the conversation away from moderated and regulated environments such as inbox, to a more private platform such as emails.
Tip 10: Do they never answer your questions or seem to change the subject?
Do they clam up when you ask certain questions? Do they cleverly sidestep your original question and never really answer? Do you feel you know nothing about them when they know everything about you? These are all red flags. Getting to know a person is a give and take situation; however, if you feel like you are the only one always sharing and they seem sneaky when it comes to giving information about themselves, consider it a red flag.
Of course, not everyone you meet is out to scam you; in fact the person you’re dating could also be harboring similar fears as you’re. We’ve all come across perfectly happy couples who did meet online. The intention of the above tips is not to make you paranoid or extremely guarded; rather, it’s to keep you safe at all times.