If you are a single man or a woman who is looking for love on the dating sites, then you’ve probably heard of fake and scam profiles that have already tarnished the image of most hookup websites. Fraudsters appear in all shapes and sizes, especially on the dating sites where fair-minded people genuinely try to find their soulmates.
Their main goal is to make money on you, so it’s important to learn what to be aware of. Here are some of the most popular scammers’ tricks to steal your heart and money and the ways to avoid it.
5 Ways To Spot A Scam Profile
The rise of online dating has created a giant market and more opportunities for scammers. Most dating apps, especially the free ones, suffer from fake profiles which sometimes exceed the number of real members. Before you start dating a woman or a man, take these precautions:
1. Google image search. First of all, never chat with members who don’t have profile photos. Some dating sites don’t require new users to upload a profile pic and don’t have a photo verification feature, so be careful.
If someone messages you, go to his/her profile, click on the photo and select Google image search. Then you will see all the photos on the web related to this pic. Sometimes you can see the same photo owned by some other people. That’s a bad sign and you’d better report this person to the support team.
2. Profile quality. Sometimes you can also just tell by the way the profile description is written. Poor grammar and perhaps someone who seems to have a little too direct of an agenda may (though it’s not guaranteed) not be legit. Another would be if there are links that take you to pages designed to sell you something.
3. How members introduce themselves. We all introduce ourselves differently. Remember the person’s age and location, is it still the same on his/her profile?
Be careful with sending photos. Are they asking for more photos of you? Be careful of the picture collectors. Don’t send any nude until you know for sure they are real. Most fake profiles will ask for more photos of you upon introduction.
If they ask you something that is obviously in your profile, they might be fake.
Example: when you send a message on the dating site, the pop-up box includes some basic information about gender, location, age, etc. Yet, they ask you where you live. Or what color of hair you have, or how tall you are. It means they are sending out the same email to many, MANY different users.
4. Ask for verification. Don’t feel ashamed to ask for verification. Send a voice note, ask for one back. Listen carefully, is the voice put on? Not sure? See my next step.
5. Verification photo. A verification photo may seem strange, however, most people nowadays verify themselves this way. You’d ask for them to take a photo of themselves, a face pic, with written on paper your name, and you say you will do the same. This is the ultimate for fake spotting. They either, say “later”, or “of course” and block you. Some may try to carry on without the verification photo. If they keep putting it off, you’ve got your answer. Yes, they are fake. The real accounts will send you a photo. Not straight away, some point that day. They will also understand why you are asking so, they will of came across fake accounts too.
If you’ve seen enough profiles after a while it’s not hard to intuitively feel like “something’s not quite right here” when visiting a fake one. The signs I’ve listed above are some of the main red flags.
How To Tell If A Woman’s Profile Is Not Genuine
Speaking about female profiles, you can definitely look at the photos first. The photos are usually made by a professional photographer, the lighting is perfect, and the posing is great. The clothes always fit perfectly.
- The girl profile describes your dream date: she is hot, sexy, has an education, stable, single, looking for marriage or no strings attached sex. They describe themselves as loyal, intelligent, respectful, a lover of nature, music, long walks on the beach, and so on.
- They are looking for someone with a heart of gold, a sense of humor, and don’t care about looks. They are looking for someone in your age bracket because age is just a number and a good heart is far more important than a sexy exterior.
- If they message you, they will mention how they have just joined the website, but your sweet and sexy smile caught their attention and they think you might be The One.
- They are very eager to move off the dating site onto Facebook, Skype or Whatsapp.
- If the messaging features cost credits for men, they will try to encourage you to send more messages and use different expensive services, such as video calls, gifts, emailing, etc.
How To Tell If A Man Is A Scammer
Here are the red flags you should pay attention to when chatting with a man.
- He claims to be a native speaker but uses grammar weirdly. Lots of people can’t spell, but getting sentence structure wrong is unusual for native speakers. They also might use the wrong words for someone of the nationality he claims to be, such as the difference between British English and American English terms. This indicates someone who’s looking for a quick escape route out of their home country.
- He claims to be in the army, diplomatic service or otherwise overseas. It’s a great excuse to explain the difficulty in contacting him, for example, because of weird time zone issues and more. And a set-up for why they may need money.
- If he is in a different location than you and he immediately wants to come and see you. And the next question will be money for an airplane ticket.
- He wants you to keep the relationship secret. Again, lots of reasons given, but the real one is that anyone outside may recognize the scam.
- He is too good to be true! He is considerably younger than you but does not care. He is looking for exactly the same things you are. He is in a well-paying job, but cannot give many details.
- Plans for him to visit always fall apart – and often need you to spend money to fix it. If you plan to visit him something happens to delay it. He gets sick, has to work away, lots of reasons.
- Despite having never met you he will talk about where you will live, how many children you will have.
- Immediately using pet names like babe, baby, honey, sweetheart, etc.
- You sense that something is way off, like his age, marital status, parental status, or he only has one photo.
- He moves really fast. He will go from stranger to soul-mate and fiance phase in a few weeks at most.
How Can Dating Sites Prevent Fake Profiles
A lot can be done with pattern analysis and matching. Dating services may limit the number of messages you can send out within the initial sign up period. They can look at the content of the email similar to how anti-spam programs look for content patterns.
They can also limit the use of email addresses within the messages sent to prevent scammers from trying to blast potential victims and taking the conversation off the dating site.
Some sites may even do an analysis of the profile’s uploaded picture against a model’s database since scammers often try to use attractive photos in their profiles.
Are There Any Dating Sites Without Fake Profiles?
Unfortunately, most modern online dating sites have at least a small portion of bots or fake profiles. No matter what security measures the site team takes, scammers will always invent new ways to beat the security algorithm and the team will always have to catch up to the latest trick. As an active member of many dating sites, I usually recommend registering on popular and long-standing platforms as I’ve noticed how proactive their security team is. As soon as you report a fake profile, it will be deleted or blocked in a matter of hours.
Free Dating Sites Vs Subscription-Based Sites
Most people think that large free dating apps as Tinder are safer because they require verification through Facebook. However, most scammers already set up many fake Facebook and Gmail profiles specifically for these kinds of activities.
I can say that unfortunately, no dating service guarantees scam-free work. While many of them try to maintain a safe environment by enabling profile verification, block & report features, and give you a great number of possible matches, no dating site can promise you that all the members you chat with are real.
The best way to avoid getting tricked is to be careful — report suspicious accounts, check photos, not to send money and your personal details, no matter what. Sometimes you should follow the rules instead of your heart, and if you do, you’ll stay safe almost every time.