By Jessica Huhn for DateAha!
The garden of online dating is filled with weeds ? totally fake profiles. Around 10% of online dating profiles are fakes ? catfishers and scammers who want to trick you into giving them money, goods, or sex. But how can you weed out these fakers, and know which profiles to steer clear of? Here are DateAha!?s tips to help you sort the genuine people from the fakes.
Photo by Irina Iriser on Unsplash
Their profile is probably genuine if:
They have links to Facebook and/or Instagram profiles, and those profiles seem genuine
If someone gives you a link to their Facebook or Instagram profile, that?s a great way to get to know more about them ? and willingness to link out to genuine social accounts makes them more trustworthy.
They?ve got a variety of photos, and show their whole body
Some scammers upload only one or two photos, but the best genuine profiles have several photos, including active candids and at least one full-body shot. When an average person uploads a full-body shot, that shows they?re more honest and open. And it?s a bit difficult for a scammer to find another person?s full-body shot to use that looks genuine.
Photo by Goh Rhy Yan on Unsplash
Their profile might be fake if:
Basically all their hobbies, interests and priorities match with yours
Yes, scammers, fraudsters and abusers pay attention to your likes and dislikes to build enticing profiles targeted at you and you alone. You may get super excited when you find a profile like this, but use your instincts and stay on guard. They might be a catfisher waiting to catch you hook, line, and sinker.
They didn?t take the time to fill out the profile
Not enough info on their profile? It?s probably not just laziness. An incomplete profile is usually a sign that the person is hiding something?and possibly hiding their true identity as a whole, so they can scam you. Even if they aren?t a fake, it?s best to steer clear of the incomplete profile.
They want to meet right away
Ideally, you should take plenty of time to get to know someone online before you meet face-to-face. That way, you have a better chance of staying safe. So, if your match immediately asks for an in-person date, that should set off alarm bells ?they might not be who they say they are. And even if they?re not using a fake name, photos, or story, they probably only want a hookup?or could be planning something more dangerous.
Their messages look like they?re meant for anyone, or don?t flow
Do their messages look like they aren?t tailored to you? Does it seem like the person could copy and paste them into any profile (or does a message look exactly like something you?ve seen before)? That?s probably because the person is a faker who wants to put as little effort in as possible. Also a red flag: if the person?s messages don?t flow or make sense like a normal conversation would (they might also be generic copy-paste messages).
Photo by Joey Banks on Unsplash
They?re a total faker if:
They start asking for money or gift cards:
This one?s the most obvious, but it usually will take a bit before this happens. If someone matches with you, and then plays the desperation card and asks for money or a gift card, they?re probably scamming you. Often, fakers pose as military members serving abroad and steal photos of real-life soldiers, thinking that your desire to help a soldier will make you an easy target. Never send an online date money ? and block them immediately if they do!
Their few photos look like they belong to someone famous
Only one or two images on the profile that look too good to be true? No full-body shots, either? Maybe the scammer used fake photos that actually belong to an actor, model, or other celebrity. If you recognize the face as belonging to someone famous, that?s an immediate red flag.
They used stock photos
And yes, some catfishers use stock photos. Sometimes, it?s easy to tell when a faker pulled an image from a stock photo site. The images look too posed, and the backgrounds look way too generic?and maybe you?ve seen the person before on another website that has nothing to do with dating.
They don?t pass the ?reverse image search? test:
If someone?s profile pictures look like they?re too good to be true, but you still can?t tell if they?re fakes, the Internet can help you double-check with a reverse image search.
How to quickly unearth fakes? Run a Google Search by Image.
Usually, after you right-click on the image you want to check, you?ll find the option to ?search Google for this image.? Pick that option.
If the option to ?search Google for this image? isn?t available in your browser, right-click on the profile pic you aren?t sure about, then copy its URL/address. Next, go to Google Images, click or tap on the camera symbol, pick Paste Image URL, and paste the image URL into the box. (You can also drag-and-drop the image right into the search box.)
Then, check the results. Do they show that the picture belongs to a known celebrity or model? Or are they the property of someone else ? clearly not the dater? You?ve caught a faker. Watch out, though: Google?s tool isn?t always effective if the faker filtered the image. If you?re still not sure, use TinEye or another reverse image search website to double-check the original source.
They send you random, mysterious links
If they send you links to random websites (other than their social media), watch out, and don?t click. They could be trying to send you to porn sites, or scam sites designed to trick you into giving up information or money.
Their background doesn?t check out
Start getting suspicious about your match?s photos, messages or other behavior? Then research their background. Maybe the profile?s behavior matches that of a known dating scam. Or maybe you?ve seen multiple profiles with the exact same photos, but different names.
Their story gets inconsistent
Did your match tell you one thing about themselves, then later message you something that conflicts? Or does their profile have conflicting information? If so, that?s a sign that they?re not genuine, and are instead making up their story as they go in hopes of reeling you in.
Combat Fake Dating Profiles
Even when you?re armed with all these tips, it can still be difficult to weed out fake online dating profiles. And it doesn?t help that dating sites just leave these profiles up ? this inaction empowers even more fakers and scammers to do their dirty work, because they think there will be no consequences for their actions.
But DateAha! is here to change that. DateAha!, a browser extension, lets you leave comments on top of any dating profile, plus view and reply to others? comments. Spotted a scammer or catfisher? Comment and let other daters know, so they won?t fall prey.
Use app.dateaha.com to get free comments and messaging at any dating site.